A team with great drive

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THEY’RE getting into gear to provide a great new service for hospital patients.

Meet the first group of new volunteer drivers who will transport patients to and from appointments at the venues within the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The drivers put their names forward for the work after the trust asked for volunteers to get in contact over the last few weeks.

The first group of drivers have now received training, uniforms, ID badges.

Each of them has also undergone a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (formally known as CRB checks).

The trust’s associate director for estates and facilities Peter Mitchell said: “We are aware that some people have difficulty getting to our hospital sites so we have set up this scheme so we can help.

“We now have a group of volunteers who have said they can spare at least half a day a week to collect patients from home and, if necessary, stay with them while they have their hospital appointment and take them home again.

“All we ask is that every driver has a clean, tidy and safe vehicle and a clean driving licence.

“We have provided each of them with uniforms, training and will pay their mileage expenses.

“It is completely the volunteer’s choice how much or how little work they carry out. If they decide they can no longer help, they just need to inform us and we will remove them from our list of drivers.”

Mr Mitchell said the drivers included retired people as well as “younger working people who want to help when they can.”

Volunteer driver Allan Mains, 62, from Wheatley Hill, said: “I was an electrician by trade, so I was always out and about in my job. I was very keen to put my name forward for it.”

Margaret Garvin from Wynyard said: “I had found myself to have some spare time and I wanted to give something back to the community. I love driving and I had done some voluntary work before for meals on wheels, so this seemed ideal.”

The trust’s volunteer driver scheme can be contacted on (01429) 522550.