Volunteer Transport Coordinator and Driver – Fiona Beattie

Starting as a volunteer driver for the Aylesbury Community Transport Scheme in early 2020, Fiona resumed her driving duties when Covid restrictions eased in mid-2021 and took on the coordinator role 6 months later. 

What does your role involve?

I provide lifts to local, mainly elderly, residents who are unable to access public transport or to afford frequent taxis. Usually I take them to medical appointments but there are also trips to regular support groups such as those organised by churches and charities.

I carry out two volunteer roles – as a driver and a coordinator – for the Aylesbury Community Transport Scheme which offers support to people predominantly in Aylesbury but also in some of the surrounding villages. The coordinator role involves liaising with the Transport Hub team, as well as taking calls directly from those who have used us before, and scheduling lifts with the scheme’s other volunteer drivers.

Why do you volunteer?

I have always been interested in helping others and I really enjoy getting involved in my local community.  I am also keen to get experience of working in different situations which will help to open up more opportunities when I return to paid work.

What attracted you to this role?

I was particularly interested in the direct, personal nature of the volunteer driver role as it gives me the opportunity to meet those I am helping face-to-face. A key attraction of the role is that it fits in around my other commitments – I decide how many hours I can give and when I am available so no week is the same.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

A definite perk of the role is all the interesting conversations I have with the people I give lifts to. I have learnt a lot about the community I live in and am definitely more aware of difficulties faced by other Aylesbury residents. Volunteering is very satisfying because I can see how much I have been able to help them while at the same time it gives me another element to my life, outside the home.

What difference does your role make to others?

On a practical level, I have helped them to get somewhere which may have been very difficult without my assistance. I am also able to allay their worries about getting to the right place as I often see them directly to the door rather than simply dropping them off. An additional benefit is that I give them a chance to talk to someone as many live alone, and I try to offer other help and support when I can.

Would you recommend volunteering?

“Absolutely. We all have something that we can give which can make a real difference to others. Driving is something that I can do easily and I can see how much it can help others  who are struggling to get out and about.”

Additional information:  

Updated on September 4, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society