Drivers with their own cars who can spare 30 minutes to an hour each week are being asked to sign up to transport lonely and isolated people in Southampton.
Communicare is looking for helpers to convey isolated and often lonely individuals to a weekly intergenerational CommuniTea event at Weston Adventure Playground.
Annie Clewlow, Manager at Communicare, which helps vulnerable and isolated people in Southampton, said: “We run CommuniTea coffee mornings with The Southampton Children’s Play Association (SCPA) every Thursday during term-time from 10am, which allows often lonely and isolated people to meet other people of all ages and socialise, which is extremely important for them.
“We have regulars who love to attend the events, however we urgently need more volunteer drivers to provide just a little bit of time each week to help get them to and from the gathering.”
Communicare currently has around 300 ‘Communiteers’ and has launched a campaign to substantially increase this number to be able to support more people through all the services it offers, not just the coffee morning.
“Although we can find roles for most people wishing to assist us and will not turn individuals away, we’re ideally looking for those who have time to spare between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday. This is when those that use all our general services require assistance.
“We’re keen to hear from individuals who can help, even if they have just 30 minutes every now and then to spare, and, also, groups that already operate in the community who could help, such as Neighbourhood Watch groups, book clubs, WI groups, flower arranging clubs, all sorts really.
“Even when people have only a few minutes to spare and are not available on a regular basis, there are ways in which they can really help to make a difference to someone who needs support.”
‘Communiteers’ are offered simple and basic training on topics such as safeguarding, manual handling and developing listening skills. They can choose their level of involvement and the types of activities they wish to engage in too.
Support provided is at a neighbourly level and Communicare does not offer professional, personal care, which can be given by statutory providers, or routine cleaning or gardening.
Richard Plume, volunteer at Communicare, said: “I have been a volunteer driver for Communicare for the last two years. This involves driving service users to various medical and social appointments and helping those who need mobility assistance.
“I enjoy giving up my time for volunteering in this way as it is a rewarding experience. Service users appreciate the additional flexibility and assistance, which would not be provided by a conventional taxi service.”
Communicare is now inviting people from all walks of life and of all ages who have a current UK driving licence and their own car to get in touch. Expenses incurred will be reimbursed.
Annie added: “Drivers typically work an average of anything from 30 minutes to an hour a week, or on a pre-agreed ‘on-call’ basis, depending on the individual’s availability. If you can spare a few hours, please do give us a call. It would mean such a lot to our service users who are unable to make their own way to our social events and other activities including essential appointments.”
To find out more about Communicare or becoming a ‘Communiteer’, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk or call 023 8250 0050.
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