MAR 10 COMMUNITY CAR SCHEME - UPDATE
By Clive Dellino, Trustee
The Community Car Scheme continues to flourish. In the months of December ’09 and January ’10 a total of 1,336 trips were made; taking local residents to doctors’ surgeries, dentists, opticians, chemists etc. -plus the occasional shopping trip when no reasonable alternative existed.
Hunstanton residents are making an increasing use of the Scheme. In the period above, their usage of the Scheme accounted for 422 of the 1,336 trips, that is to say, one third of the total calls on the available drivers. But, here, we have an unfortunate discrepancy.
There are now a total of just 29 drivers registered with the Scheme, who live in the various villages covered by the Scheme. Only 5 of them are based in the Hunstanton area, that is to say, just one sixth of the total. This imbalance is made worse by the fact that 3 of those 5 have other commitments -which seriously limit their agreed availability.
The harsh winter, and the bad road conditions during the snows, meant that some of our ‘regular’ drivers found themselves, for health and other reasons, unable to continue providing their services. (Perhaps, when spring is safely here, they may re-join!)
But, at present, we are in a very difficult position in serving the Hunstanton area. The small income from users making short local trips, measured against the larger ‘mileage’ payments to drivers drawn from villages further away (to make those same trips) puts a burden on our limited finances.
As was the case when Hunstanton first joined the Scheme, we really do need to recruit more drivers from our area. The basic conditions that apply to volunteer drivers have not changed, i.e. drivers are recompensed on a ‘mileage’ basis, they can stipulate the days and times at which they would be available, etc. etc.
But now there is one additional condition. As our drivers are considered to be “in regular contact with children or vulnerable adults”, recent legislation means that they must be checked against the Criminal Records Bureau database (and the inevitable form filled in!). However, this has not been problematic so far, and the Scheme will arrange and pay for such CRB checks on any of its drivers.
So, if any reader with a ‘clean’ license can spare some time to help out as a driver please get in touch, ASAP, making your initial contact via one of our co-ordinators on 01485 572777
On a lighter, more hopeful note, the Scheme anticipates (God and bureaucracy permitting) to move its office mid-March this year. We must leave the office we rent from Age Concern in Heacham as that property has been sold, presumably for redevelopment. So, we put our name down (last July) with the Borough’s Property Department for a vacant office in the Borough Council’s office block in Valentine Road (next door to Hunstanton doctor’s surgery), which would suit us perfectly.
They want to let it and we want to rent it. Simple eh? Oh yeah? Ever since last July, we have been involved in an extraordinary ritual dance with various Borough departments and legal advisors, from both sides. Note that this is all about renting an empty office about the size of a double bedroom. However, I remain optimistic and I am sure we will be there, somehow, as planned.