Honiton charity issues urgent plea for weekend volunteer drivers

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:15 15 November 2017

Archant

Neil Hurlock, manager of TRIP, in New Street, says the charity is struggling to operate properly with a depleted weekend workforce.

Elderly users of a Honiton-based community transport charity could miss out on ‘socially-important’ weekend trips because of its severe lack of volunteer drivers.

Neil Hurlock, manager of TRIP, in New Street, says the charity is struggling to operate properly with a depleted weekend workforce.

He has launched an impassioned plea for anyone who can drive to step forward and offer their time at the weekend to drive the charity’s buses.

Upcoming trips include Winchester Christmas Market on November 25 and Bridport Christmas Tree Festival on December 16.

But Mr Hurlock said: “Each trip has a different fare. If we don’t get enough volunteers, we might have to start paying drivers, which could ramp up the costs.

“This means that the fares for some trips would become more expensive, taking it out of the price range of some people intending to go on these journeys.

“These trips make a big difference to the quality of people’s lives because if we don’t take them out, all too often they don’t see anybody for the whole weekend.

“These journeys can make the difference between having a life and having an existence.”

The only requirements to become a volunteer driver is having a D1 on their driving licence, spare time and patience, and a good sense of humour.

Mr Hurlock added: “Without these drivers, the trips would not be held.

“People do enjoy the contact with the volunteers. Friendships are being formed and it gives somebody the chance to talk to somebody else again.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer driver can call the TRIP offices on 01404 46529 or pop into the charity’s New Street office.

Work is continuing on relocating TRIP’s mobility shop stock back into its Honiton offices (29-31 New Street).

The move is expected to be completed by the end of November, and from then, disability aids will be sold from the offices.

Mr Hurlock says several enquiries have been made about the charity’s former outlet.

TRIP is also revamping its shop front, with new signs being installed following on from the landlord’s redecoration of the front of the building.

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