Care in Haslemere needs volunteers

Volunteer to be a Care driver or a duty officer. This is how you can make a difference.
Jack is an elderly partially sighted man who lives in Hammer vale - not on a bus route even if a bus were available in the future. He has an appointment in a few days' time at Haslemere Health Centre. His daughter is unable to take him. What should he do?

He should ring Care in Haslemere and speak to one of the understanding duty officers, who will find a volunteer driver, collect him from home, see him into the Health Centre, then wait to bring him home. This is the bread and butter of Care's work. Drivers find it a rewarding experience. There is no set charge, but drivers can claim 45p per mile, and those who are helped are invited to donate an appropriate sum for the service.

Our office is in the Haslemere Methodist Church, Lion Green, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2LD. We are open for visits and calls from 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday and Friday and from 10.00am to 1.00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

What we do

Although very popular with the clients that know us, we also feel we need to spread the word about the service we provide. We are a Neighbourly Help Charity founded in 1978 for the people of Haslemere and surrounding villages. Our volunteers may help with shopping, collecting prescriptions or other errands, and occasionally give practical help in the house and garden, including small repairs, and can also visit lonely and isolated people.

But in practice the greater part of our help is to provide transport to and from essential appointments. It is especially for those in need. We mainly take people to Clinics such as Doctors and Dentists Surgeries, Opticians and Hospital Departments locally, but often to Guildford and sometimes further afield, including London. Volunteers use their own cars, and provide a very personal service taking people from and back to their own homes, often waiting with the clients at their appointments. In severe weather, for example heavy snow, we have drivers with four by four vehicles that can help clients who might be otherwise cut off. Our drivers give their time for nothing but will never need to be out of pocket as we are able to pay a mileage allowance of 45pence per mile. There is no actual charge to the Clients but they are asked to make a donation, the amount depending on the length of the trip made. In this way the Charity is to a large extent self- sustaining and does not need money from outside sources.

Currently we have over sixty drivers, but to accommodate all our requests, we need to recruit more. People who enjoy driving and have the time to spare are very welcome to join us. They would be unlikely to be asked to do more than one trip per week. We operate from the Methodist Church is Haslemere, where we rent a small room. Our Duty Officers man the telephone and take calls from our clients, finding them volunteer drivers for their particular appointments. These can vary from routine trips planned weeks ahead, to urgent appointments wanted on the same day. Office hours are 10.00a.m to 4.00p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 10.00a.m. to 1.00p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Duty Officers will work for 3 hour sessions at a time.

We are looking for helpers either to man our office or do voluntary driving in their own cars (with reimbursement for mileage) or to drive the minibus. Please contact us if you think you may be able to help.

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