Volunteers desperately needed for community car service

By Press Release May 29, 2024

Community Action Isle of Wight has made the decision to temporarily not take any further members for its community car service, ‘Optio’ and has concerns for its future due to the challenges of recruiting sufficient volunteers. The membership based service helps elderly and less mobile people who can’t easily access public transport to travel to predominantly health appointments, but also make social trips.

Chief Executive Mike Bulpitt, stated: “We currently have around 300 members and 43 generous drivers who kindly give up their time to provide the service. However, our volunteers also have their own lives to lead, holidays to go on and so forth which means that we’re increasingly not able to fulfil all the requests of members. We’ve recently had a few drivers retire and a few others forced to give up through ill health, so it’s become a real struggle to meet people’s needs.”

Tina Clark, the Optio service manager, from Community Action IW said: “A simple trip to the doctor’s surgery or an important appointment at the hospital can be complicated, if not impossible, for some people without the support of a volunteer driver.”

David Foulkes from Ryde, who has been a member since 2019 and who regularly uses the service said: “Without this service I would really struggle to get to my appointments. Optio drivers are very obliging, always on time, reliable and friendly.”

Community Action Isle of Wight is looking for around 20 more volunteer drivers, even if they are only able to volunteer for a couple trips a week, to enable them to continue to operate the service. Drivers based in Ventnor, Ryde and Newport are needed in particular, but one or two are needed everywhere on the Island.

If you are able to spare some time and would like further information please get in touch with Community Action IW on 524058 or through optiovolunteer@actioniw.org.uk

Expenses are paid to cover costs and there is lots of flexibility.