In this post John, one of our amazing volunteer drivers, tells us how he got involved with Vest Community Transport and a bit about a typical day on the buses…
In 2011, after 40 odd years working for the MOD, I took early retirement. I’d often seen the VEST buses out and around Cardiff, and even collecting my next door neighbour on occasions. So one day, on an impulse, I thought I would give them a ring and volunteer some of my time. Well I have never regretted that call, it has given me a part time role within an organisation that brings so much to Cardiff residents.
I drive for the Community Transport side of VEST. This can be taking Groups to regular weekly activities, or one off visits, to locations both within Wales and further afield.
A typical day for me involves taking and returning clients from the “Stroke Group”from their homes around North Cardiff to their weekly meetings in Whitchurch. There is normally time for a quick coffee with them before moving on to my next job, getting the elderly patrons of the Bethel Chapel in Whitchurch in for their lunch club. After getting both of these Groups home after their outings, it’s time to get across to Splott in time to return The Moorland Road Centre clients home after their lunch and Bingo has finished.
Working with these Groups involves more than just driving. Some clients have age related conditions, mobility issues or are wheelchair users. But thanks to the training I’ve had, I have the skills and confidence to give them the help they need. All us volunteers have formal MIDAS training, and an experienced staff member accompanied me on my first few sessions.
Volunteering is about giving something for others, but honestly I get so much from this myself. I have a sense of purpose and satisfaction from helping others and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the needs of others. I have made good friends both with members of the various Groups I work with and also with the full time staff members from Vest Community Transport. I especially enjoy the banter with the full time drivers, even when they take the mick out of my reversing skill, marking me out of ten in the “Strictly style” was the best.
So if you are thinking about giving some time towards VEST Community Transport, just do it you will not regret it for a moment.