Helping to tackle social isolation through volunteering

Door2Door Transport, a service delivered by VAST, supports people to engage in their community and improve their health and well-being. The personal transport service enables people to access medical appointments and a range of social and practical activities. The service received a funding boost earlier this year from Realise charity and has grown from strength to strength. During October 2019 it provided opportunities for 9 volunteers who carried out 122 journeys covering 647 miles.  That’s the same distance from Stoke-on-Trent to Torshavn in the Faroe Islands.

Door2Door provides import support for those accessing the service, however, it’s made possible by the volunteer drivers who get involved. We recently met Bob, who finds volunteering to be a rewarding experience.

Bob has been a volunteer driver with Door2Door Transport for a number of years. He said: “I had not heard of the Door2Door scheme until by chance I saw a notice asking for volunteer drivers.  Since I had just taken early retirement it seemed a worthwhile thing to do.”

After taking early retirement, Bob felt that he had a lot of time on his hands and wanted something to focus on.

Volunteering provides a positive contribution to local communities as it helps people to keep the brain active improving mental health. Opportunities allow volunteers to meet new people where they can share stories, offer support and feel a sense of belonging – helping to prevent social isolation.

Bob continues: “The volunteer work gives me a chance to meet people which has been great as I sometimes feel a bit down.  Meeting different people is really nice and it has also made me realise how difficult things can be for people with mobility problems and/or people living on their own”.

The Door2Door service allows vulnerable people in communities who are unable to gain access to local transport access free transport. Bob recognises the value placed in the Door2Door service and how many of the users feel safe and comfortable to open up to drivers and talk.

Bob said:” “I see the Door2Door service as that which would be provided by a friend or a good neighbour.”

Door 2 Door is looking for more volunteers to join the driver network.  If you are interested in finding out more please visit www.vast.org.uk or call 01782 621936 and speak to Margaret to find out more.