The Binsted, Bentley & Froyle Care Group exists predominately to provide a Car Service, for the residents of the three villages and surrounding areas, to take them to any health related appointment – such as GPs, hospitals, dentists, opticians etc. These appointments can be local - Alton, Bentley, Farnham, or further afield - Basingstoke, Frimley, Guildford, Southampton, Slough etc. The car service operates from Monday to Friday each week, though it does close for a ten day period over Christmas and New Year.
The service relies entirely on volunteers - to act as co-ordinators, who take telephone calls from clients and arrange the transport to meet their requirements, and drivers, who take clients to their appointments. There are currently around 40 volunteers in total: 8 co-ordinators and 38 drivers, who help us to provide the much needed support to clients in the local community - but there is always a need to recruit more volunteers.
The Care Group is funded by ‘donations’ from the clients but also, when required, by generous grants from the three Parish Councils and Fete Committees. Volunteers are paid their expenses - telephone costs for co-ordinators and mileage expenses for drivers.
The Care Group is part of a wider Hampshire Good Neighbours Network, which encompasses 123 other similar groups, with over 4,000 volunteers, who undertook 158,050 tasks last year. These other schemes provide a number of different services, as well as health related transport - they may also provide befriending services, lunch clubs, social journeys, minibus services, coffee mornings, practical support, carer sitting support.
We have in the past two years expanded our scheme to meet local needs, so we do now also provide a social transport service taking clients to a fortnightly Lunch Club in Whitehill Village Hall, run by the WRVS. This new element of our Service helps to combat social isolation for a group of clients, who otherwise would not be able meet. The Committee is continuing to evaluate how best we can support the local community and to develop our services.
If any local residents feel they are able to volunteer, in any capacity, to be part of the service, no matter how little time they have available, then do contact the Care Group through the central booking telephone number. The co-ordinator will direct the call to the Secretary or Chairman.
Telephone - 01420 23440.