PEOPLE in the community are being asked by Somerset Council and the NHS to consider becoming a volunteer driver.

Drivers play a crucial community role by helping older vulnerable people attend their hospital appointments across the county. This helps patients avoid missing vital appointments and helps reduce the mounting pressure on family and friends who are relied upon for lifts.

The reduction in drivers was depleted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, where volunteer drivers in Somerset have reduced by about 67 per cent.

A large number of people who use the service live in rural areas, where access to public transport is limited, and many are unable to drive.

This results in individuals feeling isolated and enables crucial volunteer drivers to give assistance to residents in accessing vital medical and social care services, including routine NHS appointments, school runs, or life saving cancer treatment.

Somerset Council’s lead member for transport and digital, councillor Richard Wilkins, said: “Volunteering as a driver is not just about getting people from A to B - it’s about making a positive difference to people’s lives. If you have a car and some spare time, please consider getting involved.

“Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, are retired or work part-time, your car can become a powerful tool for community services. You could find yourself enjoying the beautiful Somerset scenery while providing vital assistance to those in need.

“At the same time, you can offer a listening ear and a bit of companionship — it’s an incredibly rewarding and heartwarming experience.

“Our dedicated team of volunteers are a wonderful group, helping to play a part in making this a resilient, healthy and caring Somerset.”

Volunteer drivers currently receive fuel reimbursements of 45p per mile, which is increased to 50p per mile when transporting service users, and will be fully trained.

Volunteer driver Lucy Teteris said: “Being a volunteer driver is really fulfilling as it allows me to meet new people, hear their stories whilst making a difference to someone’s day”.

For more information and to register interest visit this website: