Become a Volunteer Driver
Our Community Car Service relies on the generous support of our dedicated team of volunteer drivers.
If you are considering helping the service in this way, you might like to read about the experiences of one of our existing team members:
DRIVING’S A LIFELINE
I’m a volunteer driver for the Car Service provided by Okehampton District Community Transport Group (ODCTG). I’ve done other volunteer work but I can honestly say that nothing else has been as interesting, enjoyable and – above all – satisfying. The satisfaction comes from the knowledge that I am helping to provide local people with a service which has become an essential lifeline for many. It’s hugely appreciated by its users.
ODCTG also operates a “Ring & Ride” service, which is equally valuable, offering scheduled journeys by minibus from outlying communities to Okehampton town centre. The Car Service is very different: it provides pre-booked, dedicated transport in volunteers’ own cars. Its main purpose is to take people to hospital or other medical appointments. It’s also available for any transport requirement but priority is given to medical journeys.
There are some 30 volunteer drivers helping to operate the Car Scheme. That may sound like a lot, but it’s never enough!
ODCTG covers a large area – from Chagford in the south to Merton in the north; from Halwill in the west to North Tawton in the east. That’s roughly 400 square miles with a population of 25,000 or more. A high proportion – and a rapidly growing proportion – of these people are elderly and more likely to need hospital treatment. Many have little or no access to adequate public transport, especially for visits to the bigger hospitals in Barnstaple, Exeter and Plymouth. The increasing trend to centralisation of hospital services and the closure of smaller facilities have made the transport problem more acute.
The demand for the service is constantly growing. Bearing in mind that – for perfectly good reasons – drivers come and go or may not always be available, that figure of 30 is nothing like as great as it may seem.
Come And Join Us!
Registering as a volunteer is a quick and simple procedure. Drivers are paid a generous mileage allowance – the highest permitted by regulations – and this more than covers all fuel and other costs of miles driven. Most private insurance car policies permit use for voluntary and charitable purposes (ODCTG is a registered charity). In addition, the Transport Group indemnifies drivers’ no-claims bonus and policy excess.
Drivers are free to do as little or as much as they wish; no-one is ever made to feel under any pressure to do any journey; preferences for longer or shorter journeys, for specific days of the week or times of day are noted and respected. So, what’s the catch? Really, there isn’t one. Almost without exception, passengers I’ve met through the Car Service have been delightful to travel with. Above all, the real rewards are the constant expressions of heartfelt appreciation from Car Service clients and the knowledge that I’m making a valuable contribution to people’s lives.