The Optio voluntary car service that has been run by Community Action Isle of Wight for over 20 years is facing the prospect of closure because of a shortage of volunteer drivers.
The Optio service is a membership service that provides transport for the elderly and frail and 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 include social engagements.
Historically the service has had a membership of around 450 and operated with the support of around 60 drivers however, since the pandemic, many of its regular volunteers understandably had to stop driving and did not return to the service.
The volunteer driver role is very flexible with some drivers just doing a couple of trips a week and others more. Trips are done during working hours on weekdays. Our volunteer drivers tell us when they are available, and we match up the travel requests from members to the drivers available. Drivers collect passengers from their home, taking them to their appointment and returning them back home, with expenses reimbursed according to mileage.
It’s a rewarding way of offering support that makes a huge difference to people’s lives.
If you feel that you can help and would like further information, please get in touch with Community Action Isle of Wight Optio service on 01983 522 226.