The Horsham Area Community Car Scheme (HACCS), which has been operating for over ten years, is provided by volunteer drivers using their own cars.
The organisation provides a service for people with mobility problems who are unable to use conventional public transport but who are still able to get into a car.
HACCS operates throughout the Horsham Town area as well as surrounding villages and provides opportunities for its clients to enjoy shopping trips or visits to friends and family at modest cost. It also takes people to doctors and dentist surgeries and to help them participate in social activities and day care facilities, it can even take clients to holiday destinations.
HACCS has over four thousand registered users of which about a thousand are regulars.
The scheme, which is self-supporting, and operates every weekday throughout the year except Bank Holidays, relies on a team of volunteer drivers to provide the service which, as well as providing everyday travel opportunities, gives its clients, some of whom live with little everyday contact with other people, a few minutes or so for a chat with their driver during the journey.
The demand for the service is rising as the population ages and also because of reductions in the availability of dedicated hospital transport. In tandem with the growth in requests for travel the number of drivers available is coming under increasing pressure. There is, therefore, always a need to recruit new drivers as existing volunteers get older and leave the Scheme. The continued success of this service, which is highly valued by its users, relies on a flow of new volunteers and the scheme is particularly keen to recruit a number of new drivers at this time.
Volunteers usually dedicate a day or two a week to the service although some do more. Drivers are paid a mileage allowance to help with car running costs.
Anyone who feels that they can contribute to the service, be they retired or someone just having a day to spare each week and feel that they could play their part in helping those people in our community who cannot get around as well as they used to, are welcome to call the Car Scheme administrative office on 01403 250202 to receive more details and information on this highly regarded service.
Report and picture contributed by Ray Turner.