“I have been a volunteer driver since I moved to the village in 1998. My parents had both been volunteer drivers and persuaded me to join the team. I am so glad I did, as it helped me to get to know the area and some of the residents who live here. It is an appealing and fulfilling role – I meet some interesting people, the hours are flexible and I get the satisfaction of knowing I am helping others. I must like it because so far I have completed 1200 journeys! I recommend giving it a try!”
Tim – an office volunteer
I became an office volunteer in October 2021 after being “recruited” at the Woodcote Village Fete. Now retired, I have more time on my hands and wanted to do something of benefit to the village where I’ve been lucky enough to live for the past 30 years.
The office is manned from 9.30 to 11.00 every weekday morning by two people. Different volunteers work each day, so my only commitment is an hour and a half every week. If I’m on holiday or can’t make my slot for any reason, then there’s always someone else on the team happy to stand in. Likewise, I may be asked to cover for someone who is away.
The job is very straightforward – we take phone calls from clients who require transport and match their request to an available driver. Once the details of a client’s request is logged, we then work through the list of potential drivers, contacting each in turn until we find someone who can take the job. Depending on where the client lives, we try to use a driver who lives relatively close to them. Normally I can find a driver after two or three attempts, though sometimes it takes a bit longer. Most requests are for trips to local health centres, hospitals and shops, but some can be simply for a driver to pick up a prescription and deliver it to the client’s home.
You meet some interesting people and after a while you get to know the regular clients. They are very appreciative of what Woodcote Volunteers do, and this makes the job really worthwhile. I’ve also made new friends with my fellow office volunteers and even if we don’t get any calls at all, it’s a very pleasant way to spend a morning! If you have time on your hands and you want to give something back to the community then I would thoroughly recommend joining the team.
“I recently joined Woodcote Volunteers because I liked the idea of being able to help local people who were in need of transport to get them to their health appointments – or whatever else they would otherwise have difficulty getting to. So far, I have taken two clients to the local GP surgery and one to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
When I get a phone call from one of the volunteers in the office, I may not always be available for the drive, but if I am, they let me know who needs picking up, their address, phone number and the time and place of their appointment. Importantly, they also notify me if I the client has mobility difficulties and whether I need to take a Blue Badge with me (supplied by Woodcote Volunteers).
The pick-up time, along with the expected cost of the trip (based on a 45p per mile mileage allowance), is communicated to the client by the office staff so that they can be prepared. My experience on the day of the appointment has been entirely positive. The clients are always highly appreciative of the service we provide, and it is a pleasure to get the opportunity to chat to them on the journey. For anyone who has a car and a bit of time to spare, I can heartily recommend joining our team of volunteer drivers.”
Helena – Chair of the Woodcote Volunteers
Having lived in Woodcote for 19 years, it was when my parents moved here and my father got involved as a volunteer driver that I learnt the extent of the support Woodcote Volunteers brings to residents. I have been privileged enough to be able to contribute to Woodcote Volunteers for the last 18 months as Chair of the committee, to support all the essential work they do for our community, Woodcote and beyond. We have an active committee, always looking to support the needs of the neighbourhood and a very loyal cohort of office staff and drivers, delivering the best possible service.
As part of the committee, we are steering the growth, scope and development of the services we can offer as well as handling the financial responsibility and management.
We are always looking for additional inspiration so if you have any ideas that we could include to broaden the scope of the services we can offer, just give us a call. If you need our services but are not sure whether you qualify, just ask. We are always looking for ways of helping out those in need, young or old.