Mudgee Community Transport is seeking volunteer drivers to help provide this essential service for locals that are frail aged, disabled and their carers or those who are disadvantaged due to limited public transport.
The non-profit organisation is currently in need of more drivers, particularly those who are interested in doing local runs around the Mudgee and Gulgong areas.
The service covers the Mid-Western Regional Council area and central west regional centres such as Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst and Lithgow. As well as Sydney.
Volunteers drive Council fleet vehicles and are not out-of-pocket with meal allowances are provided and fuel is paid from funding recieved through Transport for NSW and other bodies.
Volunteer of four years, Keith McLean, joined the service after he retired and had a little too much time on his hands.
He said that not only is it something that kept him from “sitting around doing nothing”, he’s found it to be very fulfilling.
“It’s great, I enjoy it, you meet all sorts of different people who are interesting to talk to and really appreciate it,” he said.
“And it’s pretty straight-forward if you get anyone new, they go out for a couple of days with one of the drivers and they fill them in.”
It’s very valuable from a personal point-of-view... without that service I would be in a fair bit of trouble.Doug Green, client.
The drivers can choose to drive a variety of hours depending on their availability; some one day a week; others choose three-four days a week, and others are just on stand-by for the occasional trip.
With the distance they’re willing to travel also up to the individual volunteer.
“Some can only do one day a week, others won’t go past Lithgow, and others do local – which is Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange and around here – and there’s about a half-dozen of us that will do whatever is going,” Mr McLean added.
Without the volunteers of Mudgee Community Transport it would be difficult for their clients to maintain their independence and relationships with families living outside of the local region.
Furthermore, many clients wouldn’t be able to get to essential medical appointments.
One such local is Doug Green, who regularly needs to travel to Sydney for the kind of treatment that he certainly wouldn’t be able to bring himself back from.
“It’s very valuable from a personal point-of-view, I’ve got quite bad eye trouble and I need to have treatment in Chatswood every five/six weeks and needless to say after that you can’t drive for a number of hours,” he said.
“So without that service I would be in a fair bit of trouble.
“And I’ve got nothing but praise for the volunteers.
“They’re fantastic, they’re very obliging and couldn’t be more helpful, and they take you down and back in a day.”
Without the community transportation service it’s expected that a number of locals would be at risk of premature institutionalisation.
Making the friendly, personal and caring transport provided by the volunteers a significant asset to the local region.
Mudgee Community Transport is part of the Mid-Western Regional Council's Community Services Department auspiced by Council.
In an average year Community Transport makes approximately 3,500 return trips taking almost 2,000 clients to medical appointments, shopping trips, social, recreational and other outings.
In 2016 one of Mudgee Community Transport's longest serving volunteers, Pat Burns, was named the Mid-Western Region’s Citizen of the Year for dedication.
- Expressions of interest can be lodged with Mudgee Community Transport, at the Carmel Croan Community Services Centre on the corner of Market and Douro streets, Mudgee, or by calling (02) 6378 2710.