Do you have the drive to be a Carecars volunteer?

Mick Ferris

Got a car, some free time and want to help others? Volunteer drivers are being sought to make a big difference to Essex hospital patients who are less mobile by driving them to their hospital appointments.

It’s a scheme that has already been a huge success over the last 20 years at Southend Hospital, and there is now a call for drivers from Basildon, Benfleet and Thurrock to help cover those areas.

Volunteer manager Jane O’Connell said: “Our volunteer driver scheme, Carecars, has always been hugely popular with patients who are unable to drive, find it difficult to get public transport to their appointments, and don’t have anyone who can drive them.

“It’s a real lifeline for many patients, and they also enjoy having a natter to one of our 25 volunteer drivers. We know there is a huge demand for the scheme, but we just need the drivers in these new areas to help make it a reality for patients that need it most.”

It isn’t just the patients headed to their appointments who get a lot out of the scheme; the drivers do as well. Many of them are former or current patients.

One of those drivers is 81-year-old May Hamilton, from Thorpe Bay. Even after 13 years, she still gets a huge rush from helping patients.

May said: “I’m on my own, so this gives me chance to meet other people and a real reason to get up in the morning. I just love doing it and the social side of it; they’re helping you and much as you’re helping them.”

David Storey, 68, from Prittlewell, has been a Carecars driver since August 2018 and also finds the volunteering very rewarding.

“I was always brought up to help other people and I’m just continuing to do that. It’s mutually beneficial. I enjoy it and the patients really appreciate the service too. It’s nice to be able to give something back to the NHS.”

You can find out more about becoming a Carecar driver by contacting Jane O’Connell on 01702 435555 ext 6135.


Mick Ferris

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