Volunteer Drivers Q and A.

The amazing services which MAECare provide simply could not exist without the excellent work of our volunteers. They graft tirelessly in their free time to ensure MAECare users are safe, happy and most importantly, having fun! Our volunteer drivers are vital to MAECare, transporting those in need from their homes, to events, and back again. We caught up with Pauline Trousdale and Martin Bland, two current volunteer drivers at MAECare, to ask them about their experiences in the role.

So, when did you start as a volunteer driver for MAECare?

Pauline: “Oh it must be about ten years ago now.”

Martin: “I have been driving now for MAECare for about two years.”

What made you want to do this role?

Pauline: “I was on the management committee and I heard about this position. I just felt that I ought to involve myself a bit more with MAECare.”

Martin: “Well I enjoy it. The clients are always very appreciative.”

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Pauline: “It’s nice to be able to give people a lift. Also it’s a one-to-one with people, you help them to where they have to go like a doctor’s appointment and it’s nice to be able to accompany people, because when you get older and are on your own, it gets more difficult when you have to go to all these places.”

Martin: “It’s rare that you have to ask for any money, usually they will voluntarily give you the small amount they have to pay and you meet people from different backgrounds, and I find that quite rewarding.”

Do you think isolation is a growing issue for elderly people?

Pauline: “I do yes because you get to the stage where you can’t walk about, get on a bus, or even ringing for a taxi is difficult because they won’t help you physically.”

Martin: “Absolutely. You can tell when these people are being picked up that they are looking forward to what they are going for. If it’s a social event it’s going to keep them occupied for a couple of hours, and they can socialise and have conversations.”

What would you say to somebody who was considering becoming a volunteer driver for MAECare?

Pauline: “I would really recommend it because it’s nice to be able to help people in that way.”

Martin: “You get a lot of satisfaction out of doing the driving and if you have done everything for them, you have helped them out of the house and into the car, that’s more than what a taxi driver would do.”

Do you have a standout experience?

Pauline: “All my experiences are good really because you get to know people and chat to them. I do get people that I’ve had before so it’s like a friend picking them up rather than somebody they don’t know.”

Martin: “I picked up a lady once in Shadwell who had Alzheimer’s and she couldn’t remember things from one minute to the next. So she asked the same questions over and over again and when I drove her back home she was still asking the same questions, but it sticks in my mind because she was just as appreciative as everybody else.”

Jamie Woodhouse, Journalism student, Leeds Trinity University