JEFF WELLINGTON VOLUNTEER DRIVER FOR SOUTH BUCKS HOSPICE

Jeff is a former British Airways manager who has volunteered for South Bucks Hospice for the past 19 years, both driving patients and now co-ordinating the team of volunteer drivers.

What does being a voluntary driver/ co-ordinator involve? Jeff currently leads a team of 15 dedicated drivers who make a total of over 1200 trips per year to ferry people to and from the hospice in High Wycombe for nursing, physio and emotional support.

How much of his time does volunteering take up? Jeff puts in around 60 hours a month, both driving and co-ordinating. And his personal commitment is such that he even successfully plans and delivers the transport roster in advance for the nursing team and volunteer drivers before going on holiday.

What difference does volunteering make to Jeff?  He says “The whole concept of volunteering is about giving something back and it’s nice to come in here and do something that helps. There is just something special about Butterfly House; you cannot put your finger on it, but it is unique.”

“You have a lovely relationship with the patients – you have the most amazing conversations with them, and we have an amazing relationship with the nurses.”

What difference does Jeff’s volunteering make to the patients? Without the drivers, people would have to make their own way in. It is a vital link for the patients.

What are the challenges of volunteering? Jeff says “I never want to be in a position to say to the nurses that I need to cancel transport, and I would do that only as a last resort. We tend to get around any problems somehow, and the drivers are phenomenal and will all pitch in. However, we would always be pleased with more applications, so come and talk to us if you are interested”.

Would Jeff recommend volunteering and if so why?  Yes – the volunteer drivers change lives. All of the volunteer drivers are unpaid, dedicated volunteers and they are the unsung heroes at the coal-face offering vital support to patients.

South Bucks Hospice is still in need of further volunteers with all different types of skills and from all walks of life. To see whether volunteering at South Bucks Hospice is for you, please contact Michael Cole at volunteers@sbhospice.org.uk  or call 01494 552764

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