The Proclaimers famously sang about walking 500 miles but Volunteer Car Driver, John Salter, from Newbury has chalked up over 1 million miles driving for SCAS.
Volunteer car drivers play an important role in SCAS’ Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service, helping get patients to and from hospital appointments, taking people home once they have been discharged from hospital and taking patients for regular treatment such as to renal units for patients requiring dialysis.
The Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service operates six days a week (Monday to Saturday) and volunteer car drivers can choose to give as little or as much time as they want though ideally SCAS would like new drivers to be available at least one day a week.
Since volunteering in 1986, John has driven 1,188,170 miles for SCAS – that’s far enough to drive around the earth at the equator 47 times!
He says: “Having joined the electricity board straight from school, I spend my entire working career there. In 1985 I underwent open heart surgery – which was very new at the time – and following the operation the company gave me early retirement for health reasons. I didn’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing, but also wasn’t looking for paid work. I bumped into a colleague who had joined the volunteer car driver scheme and he recommended I go along to Bracknell to meet the person running the scheme. I did that, started in January 1986 and wouldn’t have kept doing it for 30 years if I didn’t enjoy it! ”
Now SCAS is urgently looking for more people like John to volunteer as the Trust would like to recruit more volunteer car drivers for Berkshire.
Beth Whitaker, Volunteer Car Driver Service Manager for SCAS, said:
“John, and everyone who volunteers for us, do an amazing job. We just need a few more people in Berkshire as this will really help us improve the level of service we can give to patients who would otherwise struggle to make it to or from a hospital or treatment appointment. It’s also a very satisfying role for our volunteers – as can be seen by the fact that John has been with us for over 30 years!”
New volunteers must have no more than three points on their licence, own a five-door vehicle with a valid MOT and have fully comprehensive car insurance including a clause to carry patients. New volunteers will undertake a driving assessment and SCAS will carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. In return SCAS will supply a uniform, equipment, identity card and reimburse the volunteer for mileage and any other expenses incurred, for example, parking charges.
If you’re interested in helping local people in your community as a Volunteer Car Driver for SCAS, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 123 9801 (option 5) for more information.