‘Transport for Sick Children’s drivers have been a lifesaver for us’

Date published: 22 April 2024

How your selfless actions could help to remove stressful barriers faced by local families and make a big difference to their lives.

Having a sick child is already a stressful time for worried families without the added pressure that comes with having no means of transport.

Friends and family might not always be able to provide a lift whilst public transport can often be out of the question due to long travel times and limited routes (and might not be practical or suitable for many reasons), and hiring taxis can quickly become very expensive if regular or ongoing appointments need to be met.

That’s where Transport for Sick Children steps in – a vital Greater Manchester charity that aims to reduce stress and remove barriers faced by families without transport who have a child who needs to attend a hospital or clinic appointment.

Their selfless team of volunteer drivers have enabled thousands of children to attend important medical appointments – ranging from counselling, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, and regular or outpatient appointments to blood transfusions and operations – despite any transport, financial or social issues they have.

Over the past five years, the charity has helped almost 4,000 children with its drivers having undertaken 32,000 trips.


Transport for Sick Children is a Greater Manchester charity that aims to reduce stress and remove barriers faced by families without transport
Transport for Sick Children is a Greater Manchester charity that aims to reduce stress and remove barriers faced by families without transport


That sounds incredible: what does become a volunteer driver involve?

If you want to help improve the lives of children in Greater Manchester, you have your own car and a few hours spare each week, you might just have what it takes.

Volunteer drivers are all checked for their suitability to work with children and then use their own cars to take the child and their parent/carer to the appointment.

They wait until the appointment has finished (or can leave and return for longer appointments) and take them home.

The role is flexible so can work around other commitments. Child car seats are supplied and drivers are reimbursed for petrol costs (50p a mile) on a monthly basis.

Drivers are supported by an office team who assign appointments to drivers and co-ordinate communication between drivers and families to ensure trips run smoothly. They’re the vital link between families, referrers and the drivers.


What’s it like being a volunteer driver?

John Kirkham, volunteer driver, describes the role as incredibly rewarding: "After retiring and two enjoyable years driving for the local ambulance trust I felt I wanted something more community based and after some enquiries I found this volunteer role which is incredibly rewarding.

“I’ve met some really nice families and feel at the end of each drive that I have made a difference to that family and to the local community as a whole.

“Also the support given by the office team and other drivers means you never feel isolated and are always on hand to support you when the need arises."



Praise for Transport for Sick Children’s drivers

“I would like to thank the programme for supporting us with transport; I have no words strong enough to express my gratitude really. The volunteer drivers are very humble, respectful and trustworthy. I’d like to express my appreciation to them and let them know how they are contributing massively to the life and wellbeing of somebody.”

“The transport is a fantastic service that makes what can be a stressful time getting your child to a hospital appointment a significantly easier process; we really appreciate the service. The drivers are always friendly, polite and professional and have been a life saver for us as we don’t drive and would really struggle otherwise. We think it’s an amazing service and are so grateful that this is available.”


How do I become involved and make a difference?

Please visit www.transportforsickchildren.org/volunteers/ or call Laura or Marie-Anne on 0161 443 4122.

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