Hemel Hempstead man makes a difference through community transport

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Paul has been a volunteer driver for five years

A man from Hemel Hempstead has been making a difference in his community as a volunteer driver for Community Action Dacorum.

Paul Mutum has been a community car driver since 2015 and has helped people access health appointments during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as delivering shopping and prescriptions to residents who are self-isolating.

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Paul started volunteering as a community car driver when he retired in 2015, after 40 years in the police and eight years in the navy.

Paul Mutum has been a community car driver since 2015Paul Mutum has been a community car driver since 2015
Paul Mutum has been a community car driver since 2015

He said: "I have been volunteering ever since and have really enjoyed my time with Community Action Dacorum.

"I wanted something useful to do when I retired and being a Community Car driver has got me out of the house, involved in driving and providing a service for other people.

"Throughout Covid-19 I have carried on volunteering. With Community Action Dacorum I have been doing shopping for people as well as collecting prescriptions and providing transport to Doctors and hospital appointments.

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"I enjoy volunteering because you are helping other people and being part of a voluntary group.

One of the Store2Door clientsOne of the Store2Door clients
One of the Store2Door clients

"I like the team spirit and camaraderie. The biggest challenge has been when you come across a difficult customer who can be quite cantankerous.

"During Covid-19 I followed the advice and have been sensible.

"The only other challenge is remembering all the details when doing a Community Car journey – where to pick them up, where you’ve got to go, how you can best support them whilst trying to give a good service and look after them.

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"There has been a point during the pandemic when I did consider whether I wanted to continue volunteering.

"Two of our dear friends died from Covid-19, they were both being sensible and didn’t go out at all but they still managed to contract the disease.

"Sadly they died within a few days of each other. For 3 or 4 days I thought about stopping but decided to carry on as I’m fit and healthy and people are really depending on us to get them their food.

"If anyone is due to retire, I would really recommend that they consider volunteering and contacting Community Action Dacorum.

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"You get out of the house, can continue to be active and help other people. You get to meet a lot of nice people and it’s really kept me occupied.

"My family are very supportive of my volunteering and my wife actively encourages me to get of the house!"

Paul and his wife Elaine are planning to move to Lincoln to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren.

He said: "When I move to Lincoln I will definitely continue to volunteer and have already been offered to volunteer at 3 different libraries within walking distance of where I will live.

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"I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering, everything has been perfect. I will miss working for Community Action Dacorum and the team in Community Transport."

Paul and the other volunteers like him, have made a difference to the lives of people across Dacorum and beyond.

For many people who have been isolating over the past few months, the worry of how they will get their shopping is a big deal, the Store2Door service reduces anxiety in its users and their families.

Pauline explained that the service has been a god send to her, she has angina and has not been able to go out to do her own shopping.

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She said: “Paul has regularly delivered shopping to me and I will really miss him when he moves as he has been so helpful.

"The service has made a lot of difference to my life as I really wouldn’t have been able to stand in a queue to get into a supermarket. I rely on the service and am grateful to everyone."

Deborah Fogden, Community Transport manager at Community Action Dacorum, said: "It’s for people like Pauline, and all of the Store2Door users that we all thank Paul and his volunteer colleagues for their wonderful work during lockdown!"

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