Volunteering is such a worthwhile activity. There are plenty of options if you look around. Giving people some freedom and independence as well as a bit of company must come as priorities. Sunbury neighbours gives those less mobile, the ability to get to appointments or do some shopping.

Made up of around 30 local volunteers, duties are split between driving or taking calls and arranging volunteer drivers. When John Mold retired many years ago, the group was quite new. Wife Maggie was already involved in the group but thought it would be good for John to have a purpose so signed him up. 22 years later John and Maggie were celebrating Johns 22 years of continuous service with fellow volunteers.

The group had just welcomed two new volunteers and they are always on the look out. It is a small commitment and I am told that “no is a perfectly acceptable answer” when asked if you can help with a job. Duty officers take a turn answering calls for 2 hours per fortnight or even monthly. The previous week there had been 31 jobs. If you volunteer to drive you do so to suit your availability. There is no pressure or obligation.

Loneliness is such a hot topic at the moment. How can we help combat it within our own community? For those who feel isolated, a volunteer driving organisation makes all the difference. “Clients” are asked for a modest donation to cover petrol costs and the driver is reimbursed costs.

Any over payment goes into the organisation funds and is then put towards local charitable needs. Previous recipients have been the food bank, Home Start and Crossroads, a charity caring for carers locally. Sunbury neighbours is entirely self funding and makes such a difference to those people it helps.

Janet Twigg moved to the area to be nearer family but wanted something to do in this new place where she didn’t know many people. Her role as duty officer is now legendary and her life revolves around Sunbury Neighbours where she has time to chat and help those needing it.

The group has made the difference to so many who may have been forced into care. The freedom the volunteer drivers enable means “clients” can live independently for longer.

John Mold continues to volunteer and will do as long as he is able. He was celebrated with a beautiful home made cake and a lot of good cheer from fellow volunteers. Congratulations John.

If you have any time to spare, why not consider offering a couple of hours to the group. It would make the difference to someone’s quality of life and give you so much back in return.

To find out more please call the Duty Officer – Monday to Friday between 09.30 and 11.30 on 07956 82 2546