Optio Drivers

8 February 2022

“Listening, meeting new people and giving something back” are three reasons why one volunteer driver loves his role


Andy has been a volunteer driver for Optio for many years. Andy said: “I always felt comfortable and happy dealing with all sorts of people of different ages and abilities. When I heard about the Optio Volunteer Driving Scheme I applied and have never looked back since.

During the pandemic when demand for drivers was reduced, Andy volunteered his time as a Marshall at Westridge Vaccination centre, helping with the Vaccination effort on the Island. Andy has now returned to Optio and continues to offer his time to a service which he finds so rewarding.

Volunteer Optio driver, Andy Parnell from Binstead, shares the reasons why he loves his role and encourages more people to volunteer their time for this worthwhile cause.

The Optio volunteer drivers scheme, run by Community Action IW, provide transport for  the elderly and frail which operates with volunteer drivers using their own vehicles to take passengers to pre-booked destinations. These are often for medical appointments, but can also be for other reasons. Andy continued: “I thoroughly enjoy it. I really enjoy meeting a variety of people, helping them get to appointments and giving something back to my local community.

“You have to have empathy with everyone you transport, be tactful and try and understand their point of view. Most will happily tell you their life stories and I suspect that they do not come into contact with a person they can chat to very often.

“I never tire of listening which helps no end. Sometimes (not often) you just listen for the whole journey. “I would encourage anyone who has some spare time and enjoys driving to consider becoming a volunteer driver. It’s a great opportunity to help others, meet new people and provide a vital lifeline in your community.”

“I would have no hesitation in recommending this very worthwhile voluntary “job”. If you enjoy listening and meeting people then do not hesitate, give it a go.”

Around 25 fantastic drivers across the Island currently act as volunteers, but as the Island get back to normal demand for transport is growing and more volunteers are desperately needed in all areas of the Island.

Anyone can be a volunteer – the only criteria is that drivers must be over 18, have use of their own four-door vehicle, and hold a clean full UK driving licence. Mileage expenses will be reimbursed at up to 45p per mile.

To find out more call 01983 522226, or email: optiovolunteer@actioniw.org