Robert and Julie are husband and wife, live in the village of Chedworth and both volunteer for Cotswold Friends. They are retired and in their spare time, in addition to volunteering for the charity, enjoy a spot of tennis, gardening, and being part of local committees.
Robert is a volunteer Community Transport driver, taking older and vulnerable people anywhere they want to go, for medical or social appointments. The number of drives is variable, but sometimes Robert does several drives a week.
Julie is a volunteer Befriender, telephoning people who may be stuck at home and who would like a regular telephone call twice a week.
They say: “We were interested in volunteering for Cotswold Friends because we are both Cotswold born - in Moreton Hospital - and bred and wanted to help the community.
“What we’ve learned from volunteering is the tremendous knowledge and stoicism of the older generation who are disadvantaged in so many ways, especially with the lack of public transport.
“Fortunately, Cotswold Friends and other organisations such as the Oddington Villager Bus are helping to meet local needs.
“We’ve also discovered the frustration of many older residents who are unable or find it difficult to access some services as they do not have a computer or mobile phone.
“So, it has certainly made us aware of the problems of the elderly, especially those with impaired mobility.
“What we enjoy about volunteering is meeting and helping people and being part of Cotswold Friends. Their training courses have been very helpful and informative.
“We usually do hospital drives together as we find that some elderly and less mobile clients like to be taken into the hospital and find the right department! It also means that the driver can concentrate on parking.
“We recently took a lady to Cheltenham Hospital who was grateful for Julie finding the department, which was on the second floor, more particularly as the lady does not like using lifts by herself.”
Cotswold Friends sends a big ‘thank you’ to Robert, Julie and all the volunteers who greatly enhance the quality of life of people using their services through their contribution.
Cotswold Friends has volunteer roles, including volunteer driver and befriender roles, available now to support people who may be isolated in the North Cotswolds and Cirencester.
If you think you could help, contact George Halling, Volunteer Manager, on 01608 697007 email [email protected].