Voluntary Social Car Scheme

  • If you need essential transport during the current health emergency. Contact us on 0333 240 69 65 (option 5 - charged at local rates) or at integrated.transport@cumbria.gov.uk

There are 33 schemes set up across Cumbria to provide transport for all members of the community of any age (Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult). 

Voluntary Social Car Scheme is intended for those people who have no other means of transport.  We have volunteers who provide a door to door service across the county to collect you from your home and take you to your chosen destination for a reasonable cost. 

The service can be used for a wide variety of purposes including; making connections with public transport, doing the weekly shop, medical appointments, or just for visiting friends.  

To find out where your nearest Voluntary Car Scheme is, please contact us.

To run the scheme we rely on our volunteer drivers and coordinators, and we're always looking for more people to join the team. There is no minimum time commitment! If you'd like to find out more please get in touch.

As a thank you from local businesses within Cumbria, once you are a volunteer, you will be able to take advantage of their generous discounts.

Coordinators organise transport, recruit drivers and publicise the scheme in their local area. We are currently looking to recruit volunteer co-ordinators (all expenses are reimbursed) in:

  • Sedbergh / Dent
  • Millom / Haverigg
  • Ulverston / Dalton-in-Furness
  • Whitehaven / St Bees / Egremont / Cleator Moor / Frizington / Arlecdon

    Drivers provide transport for people using your own car, and you will be reimbursed fuel expenses at 45 pence per mile. You will also collect the cash fare and offer a receipt to the passenger (this may be declined if not required). Cumbria County Council provides insurance against loss of no claims bonus and excess payments.

    We are currently looking to recruit volunteer drivers for the following areas:

    • Wigton
    • Aspatria
    • Shap
    • Tebay
    • Orton
    • Kirkby Stephen
    • Alston
    • Kendal
    • Sedbergh
    • Millom
    • Whitehaven / St Bees / Egremont / Cleator Moor / Arlecdon / Frizington
    • Ulverston
    • Grange-over-Sands

    Volunteer stories:

    Read testimonies and more.

    If you have some spare time and would like to help co-ordinating or driving in your local area, please contact us. 

    We are also currently looking to set up new voluntary schemes in several areas of the county, and are seeking volunteer co-ordinators and drivers in the following locations:

    • Brampton
    • Workington
    • Silloth / Bowness-on-Solway
    • Maryport / Allonby
    • Longtown
    • Rampside / Roosebeck / Newbiggin / Leece / Dendron / Stank

    Do I have to make a regular commitment?

    No, you don't. That's the beauty of volunteering as a driver. You can drive as often and regularly or as little and infrequently as you wish. You can advise your local coordinator of any days/times when you know that you will be unavailable. The local coordinator will call you with details of a journey and if you can do it, great! If not, then the local coordinator will simply contact another driver.


    Can I claim expenses?

    As a driver, yes - mileage will be reimbursed at 45 pence per mile.


    How does it affect my insurance?

    Most insurance companies will allow volunteering activities; however, we do look for verification of this using a copy of confirmation from them for Business Use or an Indemnity. Excess occurred due to incident whilst carrying out the car scheme work are reimbursed for. Any increase in premiums due to loss of no claims bonus is covered by the Council's insurance. Personal Accident Insurance is not available from over the age of 80 (as this is not obtainable) through the Council and would need to be supplied by yourself.


    Do I need to take a driving test or undergo any other checks?

    We carry out a Driving Licence check every 3 years and are made aware should a Driving Licence be revoked / expired. Drivers are not DBS checked - we do not provide transport to anyone under the age of 18 unaccompanied or provide transport to day care. Passengers requiring assistance must provide their own. Two references are required upon application.


    How do I get started driving?

    You are given a pack of information and asked for a completed Application Form which includes basic details, a photo, bank account details for reimbursement, a driving licence check form, insurance information and the contact details of two references. 

    Once you are cleared to drive, your details are passed to the local coordinator, and they will contact you for introductions and discuss preferences before your first journey request is sent.


    Who does it help?

    We aim to help anyone who cannot access transport such as a bus, rail or a car at home. The journeys benefit customers with a social outing, as well as a transport need.


    Where do we go?

    Clients ask for transport to medical appointments, the shops, to visit family and friends etc.  Sometimes we are asked to go further afield (but within Cumbria), but if you want to stay local, all you have to do is say.  

    If you are transporting a client for example to a physio appointment, you may prefer to wait outside - enjoy some peace and quiet with a good book. Other times you just take them to their destination and pick them up again if you have other errands to take care of.


    Do I go into a client's house?

    No, however, when we collect a client, we sometimes go to their front door, check they have their key and then walk them to the car. We help guide them in (we do not lift) and make sure they have their seat belt on. If we have taken a client shopping, we would help them in with their small bags if you are physically able. 


    There isn't a scheme in my area. Can I start one?

    Absolutely! Our Volunteer Transport Officer, Katy Wood, helps local people to set up new voluntary driving schemes in their area. Katy can advise on the steps you need to take and give support.

    For more information about Voluntary Social Car Schemes, contact Katy Wood on 07788 396194 or email integrated.transport@cumbria.gov.uk.