Sunday, 07 August 2022

Volunteer drivers launch website to promote service

Volunteer drivers launch website to promote service

A WEBSITE has been launched by the Woodcote Volunteers to help promote its service and attract new drivers.

The charitable group was formed in 1983 with the aim of helping older residents without access to transport to get about, for example, to a doctor’s appointment or to events such as church services or fitness classes.

Now it hopes to reach more people by going online.

Secretary Jane Forde said: “The website is a new venture for us, which I suggested to the committee to help promote the service.

“Although our clients are mostly elderly and not necessarily online, their families, friends and the services they use will be, so to make sure we reach as many people as possible, it was felt to be worthwhile.

“The second and no less important reason to set this up was to attract new volunteers.” The website features information about the group, including who it helps, how and where as well as details of how to book a driver.

Ms Forde said: “I recruited a new volunteer, Phil Gibbs, to take the lead in the creation of the website as he has knowledge of IT and telecoms and had set up this sort of thing before.

“He has been very helpful and led a working party made up of myself, Kelly Gould-Harding, Tim Huelin and Dan Oldfield, who all contributed in different ways.”

Woodcote Volunteers currently has five trustees and a six-strong management committee who meet regularly to discuss the running of the charity. There are 36 volunteer drivers, 13 volunteer office helpers, a communications co-ordinator and one person who helps with IT and website issues.

The latest volunteer driver is Kathryn McDougall, who previously worked at the Woodcote Medical Practice as a dispenser for almost 10 years. She said: “I decided to join after seeing a post on Facebook asking for volunteer drivers. I haven’t started driving yet but I can’t wait to help deliver such a rewarding, beneficial service to the community.

“Over the years I have seen several volunteers bringing patients to appointments or picking up their medication. I know how worthwhile and how appreciative the clients are of this service.”

Mrs McDougall, who is married with two teenage daughters, added: “I have learnt that as well as taking clients to medical appointments and collecting their medication, the volunteers also take clients to social activities such as church coffee mornings or chair yoga classes, which can benefit their wellbeing, confidence and mobility, which are all very important.”

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