Giles' volunteering story

Volunteer GilesHow volunteering is turning 2017 into a vintage year for Giles

Giles is a busy man – as well as running a wine import and events company, and spending time with family, he's found time to volunteer thanks to the flexibility of his local Good Neighbour scheme.

There are over 100 Good Neighbour schemes across the county, most of which are supported by Surrey Community Action. These schemes provide community based support for people who need help with some of the basics of day-to-day living, or who may not have easy access to transport.

A flexible way to volunteer

Giles wasn't sure he'd be able to find a volunteering role that fit with his family and work commitments – but that all changed when he became a volunteer driver with Ditton and Weston Green Neighbour Care.

The role involves helping older or vulnerable people by driving them to appointments and occasionally waiting to drive them home again. Volunteering with the schemes is flexible so Giles gives as much or as little time as he can. Volunteer drivers are made aware of appointments and can then either accept or decline depending on availability.

Giles says: "It's great to find a way to help where I can choose when works for me. If there are periods of time when I know that I'm going to be really busy with my business or family, then I let the scheme know and they just take me off the list. The duty officers are friendly and efficient; they understand if you're busy and can't help. I don't feel under pressure to accept a job."

An easy way to make a big difference

"If I feel that I have the time to accept a job which needs me to wait for a little while, then I just sit in the car and work on my phone", Giles says. "Or if the client is happy for me to take the dog in the car then I might combine the wait with a dog walk so I can get another task done.

"It's nice to feel that I can help out – it's such a simple, easy thing for me to do. Just a little time here and there, helping people who are more vulnerable in the neighbourhood, is such a worthwhile thing to do."

Visit the Surrey Community Action website to find out more about your local Good Neighbour scheme.

To speak to someone about volunteering where you live, get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre.

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