I have been volunteering for six weeks and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience.

I’m working at a non-profit organisation which provides community transport in Tasmania to seniors and disabled people. The organisation has a fleet of 70 vehicles, both cars and mini buses. Volunteer drivers take clients to non-emergency medical appointments but also on shopping and social trips. It is a much needed service with a growing demand.

Regional co-ordinators take calls from clients, book the trips in computer system, agree pick up times then allocate vehicles and drivers.

There is a nominal fee for the clients from $6 to $30 depending on mileage. The driver collects the fee and completes a vehicle log sheet, confirming the journeys for the day, the mileage driven, any additional stops, ie pharmacist after a doctor appointment. Each journey needs to be recorded accurately on monthly reporting to ensure continued government funding.

The co-ordinators role is a huge juggling act, obviously trying to accommodate as many people as possible, to keep journeys as efficient as possible and to provide a reliable service.

The co-ordinators work alone in small offices, open to the public. Drivers call in with log sheets, with the money envelopes, to pick up driving run sheets. I have been assisting a local co-ordinator, answering the phone, general admin, counting the money collected, doing the banking. This is ironic as during my decades of banking career I was never a cashier/teller.

Some days run smoothly but others are hectic with constant incoming calls, with queries, with unexpected events such as a puncture. Some clients take a carer with them, sometimes a spouse, but this needs to be booked in, otherwise there are more people than planned for the vehicle and not enough seats. There are many potential headaches for the co-ordinators.

I admire the work the co-ordinators do but I’m more suited to an admin role, less customer service. So I’ve also worked in their Head Office. More about that in a future post.

Eventually I will need to find paid work, but for the time being, this is a great use of my time and a benefit to both myself and the organisation.