EBVoluntaryTransportServiceMar14There are so many organisations operating in our local area that provide such core services but do you (or even I) know about all of them? What if you were unable to drive to a doctor’s or hospital appointment? How would you get there? This is where the Edenbridge Voluntary Transport Service (EVTS) can help.

The organisation was formed as a charitable trust in 1975 to support the community and provide vital transport to and from medical appointments for the residents of Edenbridge and the neighbouring villages. The door-to-door service they provide comes without a charge but in order to survive they rely on donations from their passengers as well as funding from the local councils.
In an average month over 100 journeys to doctors and hospitals are made, as close as Edenbridge and Tunbridge Wells and as far afield as London. The service also provides transport for Kent County Council Social Services, Age UK and various other charities and individuals.

As a volunteer driver you will benefit in many ways. Mileage allowance is paid and journeys will be entirely at your convenience but more importantly you will be providing a key service to the community which existing drivers find both rewarding and enjoyable.

A high number of the ladies and gentlemen who volunteer are retired but they do also have a number who work part-time or work from home as well as parents who stay at home with children and fit shifts in around their school runs. All seem to lead very busy lives but give their time generously and happily.

There is no obligation on drivers to do any specific number of journeys in a year, nor to do any journey they do not want to do, for any reason or no reason. It would be great for a driver to do at least one or two drives a month and a high proportion of the current drivers do more than this.

The requirements are straightforward: 2 references, a clean driving licence, DBS check, comprehensive insurance policy and to notify your insurer of your work as a volunteer driver. Of course all drivers are reimbursed per mile from their home to their return home and fuel/vehicle wear-and-tear costs are included in the mileage claim.

Here’s what a couple of the drivers had to say about the work they do:

– “Since retiring I have enjoyed giving something back to the community and I enjoy chatting to the passengers. It is gratifying to know how very much the service is valued in the community.”
– “It’s good to be able to do something at times which suits me best. I never feel that I am forced to take on something which is difficult for me.”

Of course for the passengers it’s a lifeline:

– “It’s an absolutely wonderful service, I don’t know what we’d do without it.”
– “It’s a wonderful service – with a bad knee injury I would not have been able to get to the outpatients department at Pembury Hospital.”

If you think you can help or would like to find out more, why not join the group at their Annual Spring EVTS drinks party taking place on 21st March from 12noon. Contact 01732 865 353 (Monday to Friday 10am-12.30pm), email admin@evts.org.uk or visit their office at Edenbridge Hospital, Mill Hill, TN8 5DA – the team look forward to hearing from you.  www.evts.org.uk