Volunteer drivers needed despite scheme being awarded

VOLUNTEERS are urgently needed to transport elderly people to and from rural areas, despite a scheme already winning an award for its services.

Braintree District Council is struggling to establish community transport services from Great and Little Bardfield, Shalford, Panfield and Wethersfield, but two drivers have come forward to highlight the valuable service they provide elsewhere.

Alan Davey is volunteer driver in Braintree and said: “I wanted to give something back to the community. I was surprised what an enjoyable and rewarding experience the volunteer work is.

“I enjoy the driving and meeting new people and doing something useful with my time.”

The current crop of drivers were thanked for their continued support throughout the year at a celebratory event held at Braintree Town Hall last week.

And the scheme recently took first place in the Heart of Essex Awards, recognising groups who help bring their community together.

Councillor Joanne Beavis, cabinet member for communities, said: “The Community transport service is a lifeline to many of its customers and our volunteer drivers are a valuable asset helping us to deliver this valued service.”

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David Whiteside is a driver who helps in predominantly rural area and transports people to and from Braintree so they can shop, take part in activities and meet friends.

He added: “It is so satisfying to take out people, who perhaps find it hard to leave their homes, and to know how much they have enjoyed a day or even a morning out. I have been fortunate to drive for these people”.

Anyone can become a driver, you drive your own car and all expenses are reimbursed. Additional insurance is not needed. For an informal chat call Tracey Corcoran on 01376 557896 or e-mail community.transport@braintree.gov.uk.