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Drivers needed for community transport

PUBLISHED: 16:28 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:31 01 August 2010

BECCLES and Bungay Area Community Transport (BACT) is desperately looking for more people to volunteer as drivers as the organisation tries to cope with regular drivers being away, or not well, at the moment.

BECCLES and Bungay Area Community Transport (BACT) is desperately looking for more people to volunteer as drivers as the organisation tries to cope with regular drivers being away, or not well, at the moment.

All you need is a car, some spare time and a desire to help people. Training and a mileage allowance are provided.

BACT is a non-profit making organisation in the Beccles and Bungay area providing transport for the elderly, mobility impaired and rurally isolated people.

It undertakes journeys to day centres, training centres and workshops, take people shopping, to hospital appointments and medical appointments. Many trips are around the town; others are further afield, but our volunteers decide how much driving they want to do, when and how far.

To volunteer you need a road worthy car, comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover, and you need to be medically fit to drive and assist passengers. You will also be asked to undertake a CRB check, and will be needed to undertake some basic administration and training, as well as collect money. Minibus drivers must do some training but this usually involves only a one day training course.

BACT drivers are from all walks of life and, while many are people who have retired, we do have others who work part-time or younger drivers who have time to spare. The volunteers undertake the work for a variety of reasons - they enjoy the company, voluntary driving makes them feel good as they are helping people, and the expenses help to keep their car on the road.

The passengers also greatly appreciate the help with the transport. One said the service enabled them to go wherever they wanted, and life would be grim without such help. Another said the drivers were pleasant and helpful and many had become firm friends over the past years.

Another said: “I do not think people realise how lucky we are to have this service and I hope it continues as I do not know what I would do without it - I would feel totally shut in but I know they are here to help me”.

BACT wants to carry on with this highly valuable service, but is struggling at the moment to meet our current demand for trips due to a shortage of volunteer drivers. Some volunteers drive their own cars and receive a current mileage allowance of 40 pence a mile from the minute they leave their home, others drive the community minibus on the regular dial-a-ride service or special trips arranged with local residential care homes or local groups.

“We are also always looking for people to step forward to drive our wheelchair accessible van which concentrates on taking people who cannot transfer from their wheelchair into a car. Expenses are always covered and so as an active member of our organisation you would never be out of pocket,” said BACT's manager Debbie Blowers.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming involved at BACT, contact Debbie at the Riverside Centre at Bungay Staithe, although it is looking for drivers to cover both Beccles and Bungay and the surrounding area.

The office is open from 9am-4.30pm Mondays to Fridays. Alternatively you can ring BACT on 01986 896896 or email: bact@btconnect.com

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