Wendover Community Car is a registered charity, provided by Wendover Action Group, operating an affordable door-to-door transport service for local people who have difficulty travelling. Whether it’s doing the weekly shop, a day out to visit friends, popping out for a spot of lunch, or visiting the family, we often overlook the luxury of being able travel with ease from A to B. For those with walking frames, wheelchairs and difficulties with mobility, simply getting in and out of a car is troublesome enough.
Free bus passes are fantastic for ladies and gentlemen of leisure, however they’re not much help when the bus is packed to the brim with people, with a daunting high step to tackle as you get off and on and nobody to lift and unload handfuls of shopping bags and hurried timetables to meet. Equally some taxi companies provide an adapted mini bus for wheelchair users, but sadly not at an adapted price, making travel a luxury, and freedom for some senior citizens becomes far less frequent and more costly for regular journeys. But thanks to the Wendover Community Car and the local unpaid drivers who are ever pleasant, kind and helpful, this essential service provides the residents of Wendover and the surrounding villages with a vital lifeline to their loved ones and the freedom of travel, with a helpful hand and plenty of patience specifically catering only for local residents with mobility needs, you can be sure to travel in safe hands.
The comfortable six seater mini bus has easy access steps and a tail lift so that wheelchair users can get on and off without having to stand. It also means that walking frames and mobility restrictions are catered for too, without the fuss or struggle of trying to climb in and out of a regular car or manoeuvre tiny seat spaces or luggage. All that is asked of a passenger is that they are able to get to and from the vehicle unaided, or they have a carer present if not, as the driver is happy to do the rest, loading wheelchairs, stowing walking frames and shopping in a local and friendly door-to-door service. Being a not-for-profit organisation with unpaid volunteer drivers, the Wendover Community Car kindly ask that passengers make a donation towards the service to cover the running costs of the car.
With funding from the Parish Council and the Lionel Abel Smith trust to support the upkeep of the car, the service depends solely on the kind-hearted local voluntary drivers and passenger donations to keep the wheels turning and the engine running. Each trip can carry up to six people and one wheelchair and it is essential that you book in advance to ensure that your time slot can be met, as there is just the one vehicle in operation. They first require more staff to man the fleet and are looking to recruit dependable voluntary drivers from the local area as soon as possible.
I was most fortunate to meet Jeremy, a local voluntary driver for the Wendover Community Car who explained how people can help, make use of the service and get involved with driving. It couldn’t be easier to volunteer, as all that is asked of a driver is to be under the age of 75yrs with a full UK driving license and a reasonable driving history. This role is applicable to ladies and gentlemen alike, and the Wendover Community Car can be driven on a standard UK car license. Training will be given for operating the wheelchair lift and seat belts, and you may be required to push the occasional wheelchair onto the lift, open a door or place shopping bags into the boot, as any medical or mobility requirements beyond this will be undertaken by a passengers independent carer. This is an incredibly fulfilling role, perfect for those with a few hours to spare once a week and looking to give something back to the community, whilst meeting new people and helping others. A typical voluntary driving slot may be between 09:00-12:00 or 12:00-16:00 once a week, with occasional evening or weekend journeys available, however the majority of bookings are carried out during daylight hours.
So if you would like to book the Wendover Community Car for a journey, or would like to volunteer to become a part of this fantastic team as a driver, then please contact Joanne Smith on 01296 317769.
Registered Charity No. 1063814