What is a Handybus?
The Volunteer Centre has 3 Handybuses which are 7 seater minibuses modified to provide easy access, including low steps and passenger lifts to enable wheelchair bound passengers to be carried.
They provide regular transport for elderly and disabled people on shopping trips and visits to clubs, mostly in and around Newbury and Thatcham, as well as one-off trips and excursions where regular commitments permit.
In addition, we have a 16-seater minibus, similarly fully accessible, running a ‘book-a-ride’ service around the area.
As well as the Handybuses, we own and operate a ‘Chairman’ vehicle. This is a Fiat Doblo people carrier modified to provide accommodation for a wheelchair and easy access for disabled people.
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire organises the service, recruits the drivers and pays the running costs. We do this from the subsidised contributions made by the passengers but we are also dependent on donations and fundraising activities.
So how can I help?
We always need drivers to ensure the continuity of this service on which so many people depend. If you can find some time, on a regular or casual basis, to use your physical fitness, caring attitude and reliability to help the people we serve in your community, we should be delighted to hear from you.
What will I need to do?
As the Handybuses are equipped to carry more than eight people, you will need to take some basic training to learn about the operation of the bus and to ensure the safe boarding, transport and disembarking of our passengers. At the end of the training you will take a nationally approved test, administered by West Berkshire, which will qualify you to be a Handybus driver. (This test is not required for operating the ‘Chairman’ vehicle).
You then just need to decide how much time you can offer to the service. As most of our trips are regularly scheduled, your availability can be fitted in with these in advance. We also have requirements for one-off journeys in between the regular trips, so it is always welcome if you can sometimes be available for these occasions; you will normally be given several day’s notice of the arrangements.
Although your services are offered on a voluntary basis, we will pay your private car mileage from your home to the operator’s base and back each time you drive for us.
OK, I'm interested - who do I talk to?
If you think that you could help, we should be delighted if you could drop in for a chat (09:00 – 13:00 Monday to Friday) or give us a phone call (01635 37111) with no obligation. Please contact:
Newbury Handybus Coordinator
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire
4 – 8 The Broadway
Tel: 01635 37111
or email us at email@example.com
A few hours of your time would make a lot of difference to a lot of people.