Olivia is a volunteer driver and secretary/treasurer for the Ivers Good Neighbours - a scheme run and operated by volunteers helping residents in the Ivers get to over 200 appointments in the last year.

What prompted you to volunteer? I started as a volunteer driver in November 2017 because of the withdrawal of the local bus services, making it very hard to get around without a car.  

How much of your time does volunteering take up? You can do as much or as little as you want – individual jobs are advertised to all volunteers and you can pick up whichever ones you want to or can manage. This has made it easy to fit in volunteering as a young mum alongside my university course. I spend about 1 hour per week on the treasurer/secretary role.  We also have a 2-hour meeting once a month which all volunteers try to attend.

What difference does volunteering make to you?  It has helped build up my network of acquaintances in the community, particularly as I was quite new to the UK when I moved to Iver. I used to take my small daughter with me – I think it’s important to teach her to give back to the community.

What difference does your volunteering make to others? Many people would not be able to get their hospital appointments without the service. Given that the hospital might be miles and miles away a taxi would just be too expensive.

Also we hold 6-monthly get-togethers for the clients where we have outside guest speakers, with transport laid on by the volunteers drivers.  This provides the clients with a social event out and often the speakers themselves are offering services that the clients find helpful.

What have you found challenging?  Parking – particularly for passengers with limited mobility. The availability of spaces does vary from hospital to hospital – Iver residents have appointments at 7 or 8 hospitals spread across the surrounding area and many hospitals have little or no reserved parking that we can use.

Would you recommend volunteering and if so why? Yesis such a small amount of time to give to make a huge difference.

There is more information about the scheme at Ivers Good Neighbours, or you can contact Graham Young, the co-ordinator, by emailing gns@theivers.org.uk.

Published on July 31, 2019

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society