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South Holland Parish Voluntary Car Scheme appeals for new drivers as numbers drop to less than 50

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Volunteers drivers who provide a lifeline service to ensure patients are able to reach medical appointments are appealing for help.

South Holland Parish Voluntary Car Service has lost nearly half of its drivers over the last two years and is now hoping to attract new drivers to take patients to hospital, dental and doctors appointments.

Ten years ago the service had 90 drivers but now has around 40 to cover the appointments.

Angela Newton and Greg Green are looking for new members to join the Voluntary Car Scheme (57281220)
Angela Newton and Greg Green are looking for new members to join the Voluntary Car Scheme (57281220)

The service has been making a difference to older people and those without transport for nearly 50 years.

One of the people involved in the scheme is Coun Angela Newton, who said volunteer drivers would cover 200,000 miles a year before the pandemic.

She said: “The service continued to operate during the pandemic, taking patients to their medical appoints, and were particularly busy ferrying residents for their Covid jabs.

“Unfortunately, because of shielding, retirements and bereavements, we lost nearly 50% of our regular drivers and now desperately need more.

“Drivers don’t have to offer a set amount of time each week. As they can just advise their parish manager what days and times they will be available. With more hospitals and doctors now undertaking weekend appointments we could do with some volunteers who could help out in such emergencies. Drivers are re-imbursed 45-50p per mile.”

The car scheme runs in Crowland, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Gedney, Sutton St James, Lutton, Pinchbeck, Sutton Bridge, Spalding, Cowbit, Moulton, Weston and Whaplode.

Coun Newton said: “All the towns and parishes in the scheme pay a levy of 0.947p per head of population towards the service. This enables the transport for patients to be subsidised by 10p per mile.

“As there is now more and more building under way throughout the South Holland region this will be reflected in a higher income to many parishes but it will also mean they have to pay a slightly higher levy towards the car service. However, this still reflects fantastic value for money and a great service for residents without their own transport.

“Drivers will wait up to two hours for passengers, particularly at hospitals such as Addenbrookes, Leicester and Nottingham. However, as we are presently short of volunteers, we do at the moment sometimes have to leave a patient for their local appointment and go and pick up another passenger and then go back for the first patient. But we will not leave a passenger without transport home.”

To volunteer contact Greg Greene on 01775 630144.

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