Launched on 1 September 2012 to take older and vulnerable people to appointments with the doctor, hospital, dentist, optician and more, the 1,000th trip was made by Mrs McDowell, who needed to get to the hairdresser in Wimborne. Eric presented Mrs McDowell with a bouquet of flowers and was pleased to offer her a free journey.
The driver, Jonathan Hiscock has driven for the scheme since inception. He said, “Driving for Neighbourcar brings me a lot of satisfaction knowing you are helping others. We get people to their destinations and back and often do that little bit extra, like calling in at the chip shop, often making someone’s day. Those who use us are extremely grateful; some of them are lonely and welcome the opportunity to chat during the journey. It is amazing what I have learnt from them as they are a wonderful source of information, history and wisdom.”
After a photo was taken to celebrate the occasion of the 1000th trip, Jonathan drove Mrs McDowell to Wimborne Hospital as she had shown him a small injury to her arm which had become infected, this was treated and Jonathan then saw her safely home. Mrs McDowell expressed her thanks and said, “The service is marvellous and I would be lost without it.”
As the co-ordinator of the service, Eric would love to see more volunteer drivers come forward from Wimborne and the surrounding villages to help. He said, “If you have any spare time Monday to Friday, and the very occasional Saturday, I would appreciate hearing from you. Be it from two hours a week to more if able. One of the users, Mrs Joseph, needed to go regularly to the hospital for radiotherapy at odd times of the day for three weeks. Although the treatment took very little time, both driver and the lady were back home in just over an hour. Mrs Joseph was extremely pleased with our help and has already passed on the details to her friends and neighbours should they ever need the service.”
All the drivers are DBS checked and receive 50p a mile for the journey. Eric said the project was originally POPP (Partnership of Older People Project) funded and they would not have been able to set up the service without it. For further information please ring Eric on 01202 849360.