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Volunteers needed to help vulnerable families get out into the community

A children’s charity is appealing for volunteer drivers to help vulnerable families to attend activities in the community.

Barnardo’s has a number of volunteer vacancies for drivers across its children’s centres in Cumbria, working directly with families to assist them with transport as they may otherwise struggle to get out of the house or attend appointments or activities.

The role of the volunteer driver would include building relationships with families, and using the driver’s own vehicle to pick up and drop off families at various locations for activities and courses in the community, on occasions staying with the family for the activity they are attending, such as support groups and mother and baby classes.

Megan* is a mum supported by Barnardo’s who has benefited from the help of a volunteer driver. Megan is unable to drive and has complex mental health needs, meaning she is unable to use public transport to get out and about. A volunteer driver transports Megan and her young child to sessions at her local children’s centre each week. Accessing these sessions has meant Megan’s son has opportunities to have fun and enjoy activities with his mum, which has been particularly beneficial to him as he has significant delays in all areas of his learning and development. It has also provided Megan with the chance to meet other parents and talk to staff about activities she can continue at home to support her son’s development.

Jacquie Baccar, Barnardo’s Volunteer Co-ordinator for Cumbria said: “Barnardo’s could not operate without the support of our volunteers and many of these roles have a huge direct impact on the lives of the children and families that our volunteers work with.

“We are currently appealing for volunteer drivers to help us support some of the vulnerable families we work with, who may otherwise be isolated without help for transport to attend activities and appointments. If you think you could provide parents and carers with a listening ear and a compassionate approach whilst transporting them and supporting them to attend activities at their local children’s centre, then we are extremely interested to hear from you. This role will help isolated children and parents engage with services, which will make a real difference to their lives.”

Barnardo’s provides full training and support for all its volunteers and there are a large number of roles available, including some specialised positions within early help and outreach teams at children’s centres across Cumbria.

Other volunteering roles currently available with Barnardo’s in Cumbria include breastfeeding support volunteers, as well as those to support children’s activity groups and creches, health champions and family support volunteers.

Volunteers are usually asked to commit to a minimum of four hours per week, which is normally required to support work between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Applicants for the volunteer driver role need to have a full UK driving licence, business use on their insurance and an MOT certificate for their vehicle.

For further details about volunteering roles and locations available working with Barnardo’s children’s centres and retail shops across Cumbria, please visit http://www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/volunteering.htm or call Jacquie Baccar on 01228 593810.

* Megan is not the individual’s real name.

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