When the pandemic forced us to suspend all of our outpatient activities in March 2020, one group of volunteers that found themselves unable to fulfil their regular volunteering role was our small group of volunteer drivers, who would usually give up their time to ferry patients to and from outpatient appointments or to attend support, exercise and social groups at the hospice.

Once PPE became a regular requirement of daily hospice life, this group of volunteer drivers quickly redeployed to ensure a steady stream of face masks, gloves, aprons and other vital equipment was picked up from local hospice distribution centres and delivered to Trinity every week.

Below, some of the volunteer drivers tell us about what it's been like to have such a vital role in the task to keep staff, patients and visitors safe over the past 18 months.

George

"I have been a volunteer driver at Trinity for a few years collecting outpatients who attend the regular Thursday coffee mornings. Sadly, with the pandemic the coffee mornings stopped and I was then asked to collect PPE from another hospice every few weeks.

Although this meant that there was no longer an opportunity to meet patients and staff the volunteer drivers have played a very small part in keeping Trinity going during Covid-19.

So if you happen to be at the hospice on a Wednesday late morning you may well spot a car full to the brim with masks, aprons and so much more. We are pleased to do what little we can as volunteer drivers. As always, the real heroes are the dedicated staff at Trinity who have kept things going throughout the pandemic with their extraordinary professionalism, dedication and compassion."

George

Ray

"I had been a Trinity volunteer driver from 2015-2019, so when I was asked to help with PPE collection I said yes straight away….before I had been told that the collection place was in the wilds of Abbey Wood , a round trip of nearly 40 miles of London traffic! 

But someone has to do it! All has gone reasonably well – and when unloading at Trinity the porters had all gone out of their way to say how much the appreciate the delivery."

Gail

"As a volunteer I used to collect patients and drive them into Trinity for treatments, gym or perhaps art sessions and then take them home again.

It was a bonding experience which I thoroughly enjoyed and like to think my passengers did too. Then came Covid.

Caroline asked if I could collect PPE from a hospice in Orpington. I share this duty with two other volunteers and personally collect once every 3 weeks.

We all hope there won’t be a need for this equipment soon and we’ll be able to get back to the joy of transporting people. But until that happy time it feels good to be doing something to help out."

Sarah

"I have been a volunteer driver for several years, driving patients to and from their outpatient appointments at Trinity. I really enjoyed doing this and met some lovely people along the way. I also loved going in to the hospice when I dropped them and having a coffee and chat to whoever was around in the cafe or reception.

Everyone is always so friendly and welcoming. I was very sad when lockdown started and we were unable to continue with our volunteering, so I was delighted when I received an email asking if anyone wanted to help collect the PPE for the hospice once a week.

It involves driving over to another hospice in Greenwich, loading up the car with the much needed PPE and bringing it back to Trinity. It was nice to feel that we were playing a small part in helping the hospice to keep doing their amazing and valuable work during the the pandemic."