Voluntary car scheme appeals for drivers as it restarts after Covid
A community transport scheme is looking for more volunteer drivers to help more people get to medical appointments in rural areas.
Peter and Joy Jones set up the Eccleshall Voluntary Car Scheme in 2018 to transport people to medical appointments.
After a couple of years of no activity due to Covid, the couple are back spreading the word about the helpful scheme.
"The scheme started in 2018 but we have had a couple of years of Covid which meant we had to stop," Peter explained. "Pretty much all of our drivers are over the age of 70, so the council advised us to stop to protect them.
"We just didn't want to risk using older drivers, so sadly we had to stop for a couple of years and couldn't do anything. However we have started back about three or four weeks ago, and it's like starting from scratch really we want to put the word out.
"It has mainly been taking people to get their Covid vaccinations – we only do lifts to medical appointments."
Peter said the service is an important one in Eccleshall, which is near Newport and on the border of Staffordshire and Shropshire.
"It actually all started when a local person asked how they could get from one end of town to the other, and if anyone could give them a lift," he added.
"Then we actually thought, well maybe we could do something. I got in touch with the community transport people at Staffordshire Council who said they could help us set something up and offer funding help. So we started the scheme.
"It's all been about trying to help people – Eccleshall is a small county town surrounded by many small villages and it's quite rural so people need transport links. We are mainly looking for more drivers just so we can have more availability to transport people.
"They don't have set hours or anything, but if a job comes up we ask who is free to take it. So having more drivers will mean more chance of that being a success.
"We also want to just make local people aware of the scheme and that they can register to be customers and we can help them.
"Many customers perhaps felt nervous to come back, but we want to encourage them to feel safe using the service again. We have set rates, and are often a cheaper choice than many. Drivers get their petrol expenses paid for as well."
To get more information visit the website at eccleshallvoluntarycarscheme.org.uk or call Peter to volunteer on 01785 851381.