Our Services‎ > ‎

VDS Volunteer Driver Scheme

Rotherfield is a delightful village with a strong community spirit. However, public transport is not as good as it might be and for senior citizens who don’t have their own transport, getting to hospital appointments in places like Tunbridge Wells and Pembury (or even to a dentist in Crowborough!) isn’t always easy. Whilst local taxis provide a valuable service, many people’s pensions don’t stretch to such luxuries!

One of Rotherfield St Martin’s earliest aims was to set up a scheme in the parish to help meet older residents’ need for door-to-door transport to local medical or therapy appointments.

The RSM Volunteer Driver Scheme was launched in October 2007 and operates mostly within a 15-mile radius of the RSM Centre, and frequently as far as Maidstone and Queen Victoria Hospitals. There are now some 28 Volunteer Drivers and the service operates Monday-Friday. The number of bookings is growing as more people get to hear about the scheme and several clients need to use it on a regular basis.

CALLING ALL DRIVERS

If you have a little spare time to help the community, please would you consider giving a hand to those who, for one reason or another, are unable to use their own or public transport?

What does it involve?

You’re invited to join our team of Volunteer Drivers.  You decide how often and which days you want to be available and we contact you when we have a booking for you. There are some formalities to complete before you can start: you’ll be asked to sign a Confidentiality Agreement, provide a (simple) Reference and complete a CRB check (which we are approved to carry out).  These are all required for your own and for the client’s protection. If you’re over 70 you may be asked to get clearance from your GP. 

What about insurance? 

You’ll need to get clearance from your insurance company.  This is free and we provide the necessary form. 

Does the driver get paid?

No. It’s a voluntary scheme, whereby you donate your time and the use of your car. However, clients are asked to make a donation which covers your car expenses. 

Can you help?

If you would like to become a Volunteer Driver or would like further information, do please phone the RSM Centre on 01892 853021

NEEDING TRANSPORT?

If you are a member of RSM and need transport to an appointment we might be able to help you. We try to find a volunteer driver for appointments - but all our drivers are volunteers and give their time as available.

How do I book a car?

Phone the RSM Centre on 01892 853021 (or call in) and we’ll take your details.
We will contact you when a driver has been booked and they will phone you the day before your journey just to re-confirm the details.

You must be a member of Rotherfield St Martin to book a volunteer drive.

How Much?

This is a non-profit-making scheme and by law, as a charity, we’re not allowed to charge a fare.  However, we are allowed to ask for a donation of 45p a mile at the end of the journey to cover the driver’s expenses, and a £2 admin fee.  You must also pay any parking fees incurred.

Typical charges

  • Rotherfield to Tunbridge Wells hospital - 20 mile round trip would be around £10.
  • Rotherfield to Maidstone Hospital - 50 mile round trip would be around £25.
Our drivers will wait for a while for a return trip, but appointments which last for longer than an hour and a half count as a double journey - this is particularly an issue for appointments at the Maidstone Hospital.

Please note, we can not provide an escort service.

We take bookings for appointments during office hours, up to 4pm, or you can leave a message on our answerphone.