For someone who is elderly or less-mobile, getting about can be a daily struggle – and using public transport can become nigh-on impossible.
But help is available thanks to Community Action Dacorum, which offers a transport service to those who are less able to get about.
In fact, Community Cars is such a godsend that there aren’t enough cars to go around, and CAD is crying out for new volunteers.
David Johnson is one of the scheme’s Good Samaritans, and he’s been offering up his time to old folk in Dacorum for four years now.
He drives to the client’s house, helps them into the car, delivers them to their destination safely, and does the same again to get them back home. Retired librarian David said: “It gets me out of the house, especially in the winter.
“Most of the time it’s just taking them to appointments at the doctors or the hospital, but sometimes we take them shopping or to see a relative. Sometimes they’ve even gone down to the seaside at Brighton for the day.”
David says there’s no typical week for him when it comes to volunteering, but on average he usually does three jobs a week.
He said: “It gives them a degree of independence, and they don’t want to have to rely on their families. Often sons and daughters are working during the week, and can’t help out.
“But it’s quite flexible, and you can say no to a job if it doesn’t suit.”
CAD transport manager Pete West said: “We desperately need more volunteers, as we’ve been turning down jobs. We’ve tried putting posters up and getting the word out that way, but we’ve drawn a blank.”
Currently the service has around 30 volunteers, with a regular pool of eight in Hemel Hempstead, two in Berkhamsted but none at all in Tring.
Pete said: “We get a lot of hospital jobs at the last minute, and while we do our best to make it to all jobs, we do have to prioritise medical appointments. We often have to send someone from Berkhamsted to a Tring job and it costs the client more because of the mileage.
“The more volunteers we have, the more people we can help and the larger we can grow.”
You have to register to be eligible to use the service, and at the moment there are more than 1,900 people on the books – 50 or 60 of whom are regulars.
Pete said: “I would say to potential volunteers, please – it’s not to help us, it’s to help the community.”
Volunteers need no specialist training or extra car insurance, and are paid mileage for each journey.
If you think you could help and would like to know more, call CAD on 01442 253935, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.communityactiondacorum.org.