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Handybus serving huge Downlands area seeks volunteer drivers

Lifeline for elderly with mobility problems in extensive rural community

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Handybus serving huge Downlands area seeks volunteer drivers

MORE volunteer drivers are being sought for the Handybus providing a vital community service to a wide expanse of downland villages.

Run by the Downland Volunteer Group (DVG), the 13-seat Handybus runs door-to-door shopping trips from around 16 villages north of Newbury, at a cost of £3 return.

DVG committee member Barbara Steels said that the Handybus had proved an “invaluable lifeline” for the elderly with mobility problems.

“Many of the passengers do not have access to a computer and cannot order their weekly shopping online for home delivery,” she said.

“The DVG desperately needs more volunteer Handybus drivers to maintain this worthy service.”

Ronald Verney, aged 81, of West Ilsley, a user of the Handybus for 23 years, said he would not be able to manage without it.

He said: “You can’t carry heavy shopping at our age and there are only two buses a day in the village.”

He thanked volunteer driver Dave Morris, who helped him load and unload his shopping.

Seventy-nine-year-old Jill Collier, of East Ilsley, said she had used the Handybus since her husband died last year, to travel to supermarkets in Wantage and Newbury.

“It’s so useful,” she said.

Volunteer drivers are needed for around two to four hours, not necessarily every week.

Drivers are also needed for the DVG’s car service, which takes clients to GP and hospital appointments. 

Volunteers need a driving licence, either PCV or Car +Category D1 and will undergo a DBS check.

For more information contact Barbara Steels on (01635) 248300, or visit www.downlandvolgroup.org

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