Call for more volunteers in Norfolk

AN APPEAL has been made for volunteer drivers to help people in their community who are unable to use public transport and do not have a car.

Norfolk County Council and local community transport operators are appealing for help for thousands of people across Norfolk who rely on volunteer drivers and give their spare time to help people in their community unable to use public transport do everyday things that most take for granted.

Typical journeys made by volunteer drivers include taking people to medical appointments, day centres and the supermarket or to meet friends.

Volunteer drivers come from all walks of life – some are retired people who want to keep busy and use their spare time to make a significant difference to the lives of other people.

Others are students eager to gain valuable work experience.

Philip Atherton, 58, a retired school teacher, has been volunteering with Norwich Door to Door community transport scheme for the past year.

He said: “Until I started volunteering, I wasn’t aware that there were so many people who couldn’t get out and about but if you are wobbly on your feet or infirm, it’s very difficult to cross roads or get on a bus.

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“I took one woman to the supermarket recently and it was the first time she had been shopping on her own for three years. She was over the moon that she could go round the supermarket on her own and pick things off the shelves.

“My message to people would be ‘get involved, people need our help and they’re always so appreciative’. But however kind and willing you are, you can’t volunteer on your own, you need the support of an organisation and there are many out there looking for volunteers.”

Anybody wishing to become a volunteer driver or passenger assistant should register their interest online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/volunteerdriver or by calling 0344 800 8020.