Hemel Hempstead man makes a difference through community transport

Andy has been volunteering for Community Action Dacorum

By Holly Patel
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:49 pm

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

Andy Bowman has been supporting the Community Transport team for over 20 years as a minibus driver and during the coronavirus pandemic he has been helping residents with their grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions for the Store2Door scheme.

The dad of three, who is married to a brownie leader, was furloughed from his job in sales for an events company, and began to help with the Store2Door scheme.

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Andyhas been supporting the Community Transport team for over 20 years

He said: "I decided to offer my support to the Store2Door service because, to be honest, I am at a bit of a loose end at the moment and it’s nice to have a bit of structure to my day and feel wanted.

"Through volunteering you really get to know people and can make a difference by helping them out.

"For example, I have been cooking and taking meals around to one of the 212 passengers since he moved into a smaller place just before the lockdown happened.

"It upset me that he was not being given much support and how very frightened and alone he was feeling.

Andy has been volunteering for the Store2Door scheme

"I also organise an annual Christmas social gathering for the 212 passengers so they don’t feel so lonely at this time of year.

"Another example is when I am dropping off the shopping and prescriptions to people I always stop to have a chat with them, obviously from a distance!

"You get to know what their fears are and it’s nice to speak to them and help them out by giving ideas.

"I like to think that if everyone puts a little bit in to help others then you can help them feel a little bit better about the situation they are in.

"My family are really supportive of my volunteering and on many occasions, they have accompanied me and also helped out.

"I would recommend volunteering because you get a lot of joy from it.

"You never know when you might need it yourself and I hope that when I need a little support in the future someone will be around to help me."

Andy 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.

Tom, whose mother-in-law uses the service, said: “My wife and myself have moved away from the area so we can’t do the shopping for my mother-in-law anymore.

"Using the service has been a god send, even though Doreen is a vulnerable adult and housebound we haven’t been able to get a supermarket delivery slot for her so we would have had a big problem if the service didn’t exist. It is such a relief.

"Andy has been great and so helpful, last week he rang to say an item wasn’t in stock and should he replace it with another item.

"It is so refreshing that this sort of work is being done and Doreen is very happy."

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