The Transporters: Benson volunteers help local residents stay healthy
9 June 2016
With over 21 million people in the UK volunteering each year to help improve the health and wellbeing of others, Hanover Housing Association resident 84-year–old Janet Burtt has been doing her bit to ensure residents in Benson, Oxfordshire, are able to attend important NHS appointments.
After retiring from teaching in 1990, Janet decided to trade-in the hustle and bustle of London for pastures new by moving to the sleepy village of Benson at the foot of the Chiltern Hills - one of her favourite holiday destinations.
In addition to teaching, Janet regularly set her sights on helping people as a volunteer library assistant with the Royal Voluntary Service at West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth. It was while living in Benson that Janet was given the opportunity to become a volunteer telephone operator with the Benson Volunteer Helpline, which aims to assist anyone in genuine need.
Based in the local parish hall, the voluntary organisation was set up nearly 25 years ago by former Hanover resident Dorothy Rose. At the time, Dorothy wanted to help local residents who are registered at the local Benson Surgery to attend essential GP and medical appointments.
The service is now run by Elizabeth Leppard and relies on local car owners/drivers who are paid an allowance to cover the use of their vehicle. In return for the service the users are asked to pay a fee to cover the costs involved.
Janet said: 'I have always enjoyed helping people and have had many wonderful and some humorous memories while volunteering here. On one of those occasions a very well-spoken lady kept trying to call me to book a mini cab.'
The Benson Helpline would welcome additional drivers in order to be able to satisfy the increasing demand for the vital community service. Volunteers do not have to commit to any particular times – you drive when it is convenient to you. For more information on how you can help, contact Elizabeth Leppard on 01491 838 580.