Volunteers’ Week – What does volunteering mean to you?

In this volunteers’ week blog, Katy Wood, Voluntary Transport Officer at Cumbria County Council, looks at what volunteers in her area have to say about how volunteering impacts them.

Community transport has long standing services that are a vital lifeline for our individual customers who travel where there is no public bus service or private transport available. These services are also a vital lifeline for many a volunteer. They allow people to volunteer and feel useful and build long lasting friendships resulting in close knit communities.

To celebrate this year’s volunteers’ week, we look at the testimonials of how volunteering benefits the volunteers too: quotes provided by people who spend time either coordinating transport, providing transport as a driver in their own vehicle, or people taking groups out in community minibuses.

The benefits to the customers are huge, people who couldn’t get out and about, missing friends and family or not even being able to get to appointments can easily explain what it means to them.  But what does it mean to the volunteer?

“I meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have in my working career, plus I have made friends and only drive when and if I want to. I send my expenses to my Co-ordinator every month end and am reimbursed.  Wish I had done it sooner !!!” Lynn, Ulverston Voluntary Social Car Scheme Co-ordinator & Driver.

“I enjoy volunteering because it makes me feel part of the community and I make new friends.  I drive the minibus between Windermere and Kendal on Wednesdays.” Christine, Lakes & Lyth Community Minibus Driver

“I enjoy volunteering because I like helping older people keep their independence, as one day I may need that help too.” Ursula, Ambleside/Windermere Voluntary Social Car Scheme Co-ordinator & Driver.

“I enjoy volunteering because I meet some lovely people, all of whom are appreciative of my help, and acquaintances have now become friends.” Julie, Ulverston Social Car Scheme Driver.

“I enjoy volunteering because it helps mostly old people who need to get to Doctors etc to get there with the least possible fuss.  As most of them don’t live on bus routes and don’t have family and friends living close. As our time is given voluntarily, we don’t mind waiting on them!”Shirley, Brampton Voluntary Social Car Scheme Co-ordinator/Driver.

“I enjoy volunteering because it gives me contacts and interests I would never find elsewhere”. Chloe, Shap Voluntary Social Car Scheme Driver

So there it is, bringing people together doesn’t just make a journey, it builds long lasting local friendships, from which both parties benefit.

We as a Council, and on behalf of all the customers, give our sincerest thanks to our team of over 300 volunteers who have made thousands of journeys getting people out and about; we couldn’t provide a service without their valued efforts.

Interested in joining?  We still have customers that miss out when there are no volunteers available so there’s always space for more!  We would love to hear from you.  All expenses are reimbursed.  For an informal chat, please feel free to contact:

Katy – Voluntary Transport Officer

Environment & Community Services | Cumbria County Council

Parkhouse Building | Baron Way | Kingmoor Business Park | Carlisle | Cumbria | CA6 4SJ

07788 396 194

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/communitytransport

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