The Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard recently attended 50th anniversary celebrations of the Storrington Area Help Scheme at Joanna’s in Storrington. Whilst members of the Scheme enjoyed an excellent afternoon tea, guest of honour Lady Emma found time to speak to each of the volunteers swapping anecdotes and thanking them for their dedication, hard work and service to the community. At the end of proceedings Chairman Tony Dell presented Lady Emma with a bouquet of flowers.
The Help Scheme is a registered charity that covers Storrington, West Chiltington, Ashington, Washington and Thakeham. It was founded in 1973 by the Reverend John Lambourne to assist local people who needed help with transport to hospital, medical appointments, shopping and even babysitting. A white card with a red letter H would be placed in the window to alert the postman, milkman, paperboy or anyone passing to contact the volunteers.
Today the Scheme exists to help people who live locally – and have no transport of their own – to attend medical appointments within West Sussex. This includes visits to hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, opticians, chiropodists and dentists; babysitting and shopping duties are no longer required! The Scheme is currently run by a team of around 40 friendly volunteers made up of 8 office staff operating weekday mornings from an office in the Trinity Centre in Storrington and 32 drivers who use their own vehicles to provide transport to the medical appointments. In 2022 the Scheme was able to respond to almost 800 calls for assistance.
These are busy times and the Scheme always welcomes new recruits. Office staff are the key link between the clients and our volunteer drivers. They normally work on their own in the office for one morning every fortnight answering telephone calls from clients, liaising with our drivers to check on availability and keeping accurate hand written records. Familiarisation training is provided for anyone interested in the role. Volunteer drivers do not have to give a regular commitment and as little as a few hours a month is perfectly acceptable. Drivers can always decline a journey request if inconvenient to them and can also specify the locations they are able to cover. A mileage allowance of 50 pence a mile is paid and passengers are asked to make a contribution for the service they receive.
If you are interested in volunteering for the Help Scheme as a driver or as a member of the office team, further information can be found on website volunteerhorshamdistrict.co.uk. Alternatively you can call the Help Scheme office on 01903 742124 between 10am and 12 noon any weekday excluding public holidays or leave a message and we will get back to you.
Submitted to the Storrington Community Website using the News Item contact form.