A Volunteer Story: Phil Barnett

Phil Barnett's Dial-Ride volunteering story

A Volunteer Story: Phil Barnett

I started volunteering at Qube as one of their Dial-a-Ride Drivers over 11 years ago. I first found out about the volunteering opportunities with the organisation from one of my neighbours, whom at the time was also volunteering with them. After speaking with my neighbour it got me thinking about how I’d like to help people in the local community and get myself more involved. This resulted in me signing up to volunteering with Qube and also as a Parish Councillor in my area too.

Initially, my volunteering journey at Qube started pretty plain sailing and allowed me to get to know the Oswestry area a little more, that’s until COVID-19 hit. Many of the drivers decided to call it a day upon the arrival of COVID, but since I liked driving and interacting with people I actually kicked my days up a notch. Not only was I doing my usual Dial-a-Ride shifts taking people on their grocery shops, I also picked up some shifts as a Community Car driver, supporting people with emergency appointments and so on, plus I also helped with the OsNosh food delivery service too. Three years later and I still haven’t switched back to my pre-COVID routine but that just goes to show how much I enjoy my role.

Naturally, my Dial-a-Ride days are a little more structured than any time I spend on the road offering the Community Car service. Mondays are usually for the shoppers, we head to Abraham Court and Meadowbrook where we have regulars who use the service as a ride in to Oswestry to do their weekly grocery shop at Sainsburys – as you can imagine more often than not the residents are friends so you hear many a story (or gossip) from the front seat of the bus. Then, on a Thursday, it’s usually the OsNosh Meal Delivery Service where we drop of freshly prepared meals for residents signed up to the service.

Aside from my role at Dial-a-Ride, I’m also a Parish Councillor (as mentioned earlier) and a Trustee at Parish, Paths, Partnerships. As well as the behind-the-scenes bits and bobs, this also means getting involved in repairing styles, fences and kissing gates. I also lend my time helping out with fixing things down at the local church (did you know just how difficult it is to do simple things like changing a light bulb when it’s on a church scale?) and my wife and I often try and fundraise for the Severn Hospice, a charity close to our hearts. This often involves quizzes, selling bric-a-brac, hosting tea parties and more.