A SOUTHAMPTON charity is urgently appealing for more volunteer drivers to help transport its vulnerable people to urgent medical appointments throughout the summer.

Communicare, charity aimed at tackling loneliness in Southampton, is urgently appealing for help with the collection and return of isolated and lonely residents to their homes when they have GP appointments and hospital outpatient clinics to attend.

Hannah Silver, a charity trustee and volunteer, said: “We’re a friendly, neighbourhood charity that enriches the lives of lonely and isolated people in and around the city.

"Our service users are mainly elderly and have wellbeing issues.

“As many of our existing volunteers are also aged over 70 and may be classed as vulnerable, we need now to find others who can help us with transporting people to their essential appointments.”

Its services are linked to hosting face-to-face social events, such as regular lunches and tea parties for service users, but the charity is currently unable to organise such activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Communicare urgently needs people who are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm to coincide with medical appointment times and those that have four-door cars too to allow for social distancing.

The charity’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports around 400 individuals and families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks.

Drivers are offered simple and basic training on topics such as safeguarding and developing listening skills and can choose the level of commitment and involvement they wish to have.

Following Government guidance, appropriate PPE is provided too.

Hannah added: “Drivers work 30 minutes to an hour a week, or on a pre-agreed ‘on-call’ basis, depending on the individual’s availability. If you can spare a few hours, please do get in touch.

"It would mean such a lot to our service users who are unable to make their own way to these essential medical appointments.

“Anyone who volunteers for us now will have their application and our recruitment process fast tracked.

"With the Government’s support, we’re getting references and DBS checks done as quickly as we can, so volunteers can be operational as soon as possible.

"Those wishing to help with transport will go through our recruitment process as normal, with all the same policies applying. This will mean that we are confident about the safety of those we are trying to help.”