Volunteer drivers play a vital role in providing transport services across the UK and especially so in rural areas like Chipping Campden and the Cotswolds.
Transporting passengers to medical appointments, dental appointments, shopping, hairdresser appointments, social events, family gatherings and more, they provide a lifeline for those who cannot travel themselves or on public transport services. In some cases, using specially adapted accessible vehicles also provide comfort for wheelchair users too.
Without these key volunteers and with the additional pressures on the NHS, many patients wouldn’t be able to attend their hospital appointments in our local area.
Is this something you would like to get involved with and give just a little of your time each week to help people locally?
It’s much easier than you might think and you will be helping to keep your community moving and connected.
Read on to find out more and how you can get involved today…
The Benefits of Becoming a Volunteer Driver
Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only will your life be filled with a greater purpose and sense of accomplishment but you will:
- Meet new people in your local community requiring regular journeys
- See life from others’ perspectives
- Become happier from a greater sense of purpose
- Increase your self-esteem
- Open up new doors to other activities in your life
- Improve your health and general wellbeing
- Learn new skills and travel to different places
- Meet other dedicated volunteers in your local area
- Remain active and involved with your local community and become part of a friendly transport team
Supporting Volunteer Drivers
If you are interested in helping transport services in your local area, you just need:
- A vehicle with a valid MOT and car insurance
- A valid driving license
- An active DBS
If you are worried about any of this you needn’t worry, as any volunteer driver service will support you the moment you enquire including how to do checks for volunteers.
In volunteering, you will most likely be using your own vehicle, but some transport operators also have their own vehicles such as minibuses or accessible vehicles. Each has its own requirements:
If you use your own vehicle for volunteer driving you must first:
- Get in touch with your insurer to find out if you are covered by your regular motor insurance policy
- include your volunteer driving miles when declaring any annual mileage to your car insurance company
If you use a voluntary organisation’s vehicle such as an adapted vehicle:
- You should be covered by the charity or voluntary organisations’ own insurance but it’s always worth checking first initially to be on the safe side.
As a volunteer driver, you will typically receive a mileage rate for each mile travelled in line with the standard HMRC-approved mileage allowances.
For example, with Cotswold Friends, you will receive a mileage allowance of 45p a mile to cover your fuel costs and go towards wear and tear on your vehicle when it is just you in the vehicle (such as when you are on your way to pick up a passenger), but you will receive 50p a mile once you are travelling with the passenger in the vehicle – so an additional 5p per mile.
Depending on the voluntary organisation’s operating procedures, you may also be provided with additional journey expenses such as parking but you will need to check this with the organisation at the time.
Some community transport providers also ask for a booking fee (also known as an admin fee) but others opt for a membership scheme which means as a driver you just have to document the miles you travel.
Integrate Volunteering with Your Lifestyle
The great thing about volunteering is that it doesn’t need to disrupt your current lifestyle, if anything it can enhance it.
With modern user-friendly transport software available such as Road XS, you can pick and choose when you drive so that you’re not disturbed when you are busy doing other things. The software will always find the most suitable volunteer driver for the journey at hand so you don’t have to worry about what vehicle you drive either. You can also easily enter your mileage if you had to go a slightly different way and not be out of pocket either.
If you prefer to do long-distance journeys or just shorter more local journeys you can set a maximum mileage to ensure you only see journeys which suit your preferences. Everything is entirely up to you as the driver. The best part is you would be joining a team of dedicated volunteer drivers who support one another and make a real difference in their local community.
Learn More About Becoming a Volunteer Driver
It’s never been easier to volunteer and despite the rising fuel costs, schemes are in place to cover you.
The nearest volunteer driver service to Chipping Campden is Cotswold Friends. They are actively looking to grow their team of volunteer drivers and would welcome you with open arms.
To get started simply complete the form below and they will be in touch with you very soon.