Head and shoulders portrait of volunteer driver Denise

Denise’s story

I’ve been a volunteer driver for three years now. I collect and deliver people to and from their homes to Dorothy House in Winsley or to the outreach centres, and even the RUH.

I wanted to give something back after my husband had been a patient here – he died four years ago and you have to wait a year before you can volunteer – it kind of landed in my lap, literally – a newsletter came through asking for volunteers – I thought, hmm, yes, I could do that.

I really like being able to give a bit of support to the people I drive, and the camaraderie with the other volunteer drivers – it’s like being part of another family.

I remember when I came for my volunteer interview being told that whatever you start doing, you’ll morph into other areas. Now, I’m also a welfare advice volunteer and I’ve been asked to sit on the first Dorothy House Workforce Conference as the volunteer representative.

I try to keep my driving to two days a week, but sometimes I get three. There’s never any bad feeling if I say no, I’ve got the school run to do, I can’t pick up, or I can do an inward journey but not the return. They’re always very grateful for what I CAN do.

I have two people I drive regularly – which is lovely, although I was apprehensive at first of building relationships with the people I was driving. Some of those relationships are very short but that’s the nature of the job – I did care in the community before I came here, so I know what it’s about. I knew what I was letting myself in for.

I have lots of “me” time. This is a happy medium, like being with another family rather than being on my own at home. And I have six grandchildren.  I spend quite a bit of time with them. I always said I wanted to be a hands-on grandparent and to spend quality time with them, so it’s less about the material things and more about the relationship. They just think I’m fun!