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More volunteers needed for Harrogate scheme

Jamie sitting in car with Charlie - press pic

Published by May Norman at 9:43am 12th April 2019. (Updated at 4:35pm 29th April 2019)

More volunteer drivers are need to help people living independently

  • There's a call for more volunteers who can help older and vulnerable people remain independent in their own homes across the Harrogate borough.
  • Currently, Driving Force has a team who has carried out over 100,000 journeys last year, covering over 115,000 miles - assisting those who need help.
  • But more volunteers drivers are desperately needed.

There's a call for more volunteers who can help older and vulnerable people remain independent in their own homes across the Harrogate borough.

Currently, Driving Force has a team who has carried out over 100,000 journeys last year, covering over 115,000 miles to assist those who need help.

There are 60 drivers in total - but more volunteers drivers are needed.

Stray FM caught up with 28 year-old Jamie from Spofforth who uses Driving Force to get to the Vision Centre in Harrogate.

Jamie - who is blind - has used the service for 3 years and wouldn't be without it.

He has a regular driver, Charlie, who has become a friend to Jamie.

Our reporter May Norman met both Jamie and Charlie to hear first hand about their experiences of Driving Force.

Charlie, who has been a volunteer driver with Driving Force for over three years, has been taking Jamie to the Vision Centre every Friday for indoor bowls:

Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) works with volunteers to assist older and vulnerable people remain independent in their own homes and in the community.

The organisation is behind Driving Force.

About Driving Force

Driving Force is a voluntary car driving service providing door-to-door transport for non-urgent trips across the Harrogate district. We help local people without access to their own transport and unable to use public transport due to mobility, disability or location to make journeys to:

  • Appointments – hospital, GP, dental, optical and podiatry
  • Day centres and lunch clubs
  • Shops, bank, post office and other essential trips
  • Social visits to relatives, hairdressers etc.

Driving Force volunteers provide a lifeline to many people who would otherwise struggle to stay connected with their communities – transport can often be the only thing stopping people from accessing social activities and important appointments.

Whilst the majority of the Driving Force journeys are local, subject to volunteer availability volunteer drivers can take people further afield – one of its drivers has recently taken an elderly gentleman on his holidays to Bridlington.

A Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) spokesperson said:

"We simply can’t keep up with demand and always prioritise health journeys over journeys to the hairdresser/bank etc.

"This volunteering role is very flexible and perfect for fitting in around people’s busy lives. Once a volunteer is signed up (there’s a bit of paperwork to check car insurances and do a DBS check etc.) they receive a weekly email outlining the journeys for the week ahead and let us know when they are available and which journeys they can do.

"Some people do several a week and others just do a couple a month – but we value each and every one of them.

"The main criteria is that they have to have access to their own transport and hold a full UK driving license (over 18s only). Expenses are covered by the client who pays 45p per mile directly to the driver for mileage/wear and tear on the car."

More information about the service can be found on the Driving Force website.

Please visit the Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) website for more details on all other services available.

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