Volunteers needed for rural car link

A driver and passenger on North Walsham's community transport scheme. Norfolk Community Transport As

A driver and passenger on North Walsham's community transport scheme. Norfolk Community Transport Association is looking to establish a similar scheme in Saham Toney. Picture by Steve Nunn - Credit: Steve Nunn

Could you spare a few hours a week to volunteer as a transport link for a rural community?

This is the question being posed by the organisers of the Saham Toney Community Transport Scheme.

Its organisers, the Norfolk Community Transport Association, runs more than 40 similar schemes across the county with the help of volunteers and is looking to build up a network of volunteer drivers in the small village near Watton.

Jill Glenn, coordinator of Saham Toney's scheme, said: 'Our scheme has no drivers at all just now. We're in urgent need of people who are willing to give a few hours of their time to drive local residents on straightforward but essential journeys.

'We ask only that volunteers provide their own vehicle, for which a mileage allowance is paid.'

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In a mainly rural county like Norfolk, community transport is a vital lifeline for people to get to and from doctors' appointments or to the local shops.

It can play an important part in tackling social isolation and is especially important for older people and those with disability issues, but can also be a lifeline for younger people and families who lack their own transport. The community transport schemes aim to fill gaps left in commercial transport operations in rural areas, where bus provision is less frequent than in larger towns.

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Around 250,000 journeys a year are provided across Norfolk through the community transport schemes, helping people to live more independently and healthcare appointments, social activities, education and employment.

The schemes are managed by the Norfolk Community Transport Association, under the umbrella of Community Action Norfolk.

NCTA can also help to match people with schemes in their area, either as passengers or as volunteer drivers.

• If you could help as a volunteer driver, or would like to find out more about what might be involved, please contact Jill on 01760 441738 or email her at jillglenn6@gmail.com

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