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Could you be a lifeline for someone in need? Community car schemes are in urgent need of drivers in Dereham, Toftwood, Lyng and Elsing

PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 May 2017

Trevor Smith is a volunteer driver for Dereham Community Car Scheme. Picture: Community Action Norfolk

Trevor Smith is a volunteer driver for Dereham Community Car Scheme. Picture: Community Action Norfolk

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Two mid Norfolk community car schemes are in urgent need of more volunteer drivers to help maintain their good work.

Jan Kemp is co-ordinator of Lyng & Elsing Community Car Scheme, pictured here with passenger Sandra Evans.  Picture: Community Action Norfolk Jan Kemp is co-ordinator of Lyng & Elsing Community Car Scheme, pictured here with passenger Sandra Evans. Picture: Community Action Norfolk

Dereham Community Car Scheme provides a valuable service to vulnerable people in Dereham and Toftwood who need to attend medical appointments but have no access to transport of their own or are unable to use public transport.

Lyng & Elsing Community Car Scheme has a committed team of five or six drivers, each of whom volunteers their own time and car when local residents need a lift to a GP, hospital or dental appointment.

Both schemes would welcome new drivers as for many people it’s their only means of getting to and from healthcare appointments. It also plays an important part in tackling social isolation, especially for older people and those with disablility issues, but can also be a lifeline for younger people and families who lack their own transport or where there is no local bus service.

Dereham Town Council officer Julie Mason said their scheme provides around 300 journeys a month for people who live in Dereham and Toftwood.

“Most of those journeys are local but our drivers will travel as far as Addenbrookes and Papworth and wait until their passenger has finished their appointment ready for the return journey,” she said.

“We’d like to assure anyone thinking about volunteering that journey requests depend on the individual driver’s availability, so there’s no pressure to commit to more time than is convenient – and we welcome drivers of any and all ages as volunteers.

“We can’t emphasise enough the need for more drivers.”

Co-ordinator of the Lyng & Elsing Community Car Scheme Jan Kemp said their drivers were known personally to most of their service users.

“That personal, local knowledge works for everyone, meaning we know who has particular mobility needs and consequently might be better suited to a four-door car or one with more leg-room,” she said.

Volunteers use their own cars and are paid a mileage rate to cover the cost of travel.

“The workload is not heavy,” she said.

Lyng resident Sandra Evans, who has used the car scheme for 13 years, said: “It’s a brilliant scheme and I’d be stuck without it – it’s a lifeline.”

For the Dereham scheme contact Julie Mason on 01362 693821 or email generalenquiries@derehamtowncouncil.org. To enquire about Lyng & Elsing Community Car Scheme contact Pete Clough on 01603 871930 or email pete.d.clough@gmail.com .

If you could volunteer as a driver in your area call Community Action Norfolk on 01362 698216 or visit the website here.

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