Community First, a Devizes based charity which supports communities across Wiltshire and Swindon, has launched a digital campaign with the ambitious aim of achieving a million volunteering miles in 2017 through the Wiltshire Link and Community Transport service.
The campaign called #OneMillionMiles hopes to recruit new volunteers for the 45 Link schemes and 21 community minibus groups across the county, who offer a lifeline for older or vulnerable people with limited access to transport.
There are around 2,000 volunteers in Wiltshire and Swindon who are involved in supporting local Link (volunteer car driver) schemes and community minibus groups, making it one of the most successful community transport schemes in the country. Despite this, demand is growing and more volunteers are needed to support the service.
In 2016 Link ‘Good Neighbour’ volunteer car drivers travelled over 920,000 miles, connecting local people to vital services, which would otherwise be difficult for them to access for health or other reasons. A significant percentage of journeys are health related, including trips to district hospitals and GP surgeries.
Community First Chief Executive Lynn Gibson said:
Wiltshire is a predominately rural county and a large percentage of older people have no access to a car. A significant number of people also live more than an hour away from a hospital by public transport. Volunteer led services like Link and minibus groups are a lifeline, especially when it comes to accessing medical care and this campaign hopes to encourage more volunteers to get involved.
The campaign which starts on 24th April, aims to recruit 150 new volunteers for local Link Schemes and community minibus groups. The charity hopes that this will help them reach a target of a million miles travelled by volunteers over the coming year.
Calne & District Link Volunteer Frank Rumble said:
“I’ve been volunteering for 8 years now and I do it because I love driving, I love meeting people and it gets me out of the house for a couple of hours. I find it really invigorating.”
For more information about volunteering with your local Link scheme or community minibus group contact:
Telephone: 01380 722 241