Whether you are new to the area or have lived here all your life, in need of regular assistance or occasional friendship, the Wheel of Care aims to provide the help that many people in West Horsley need.
We all require a little assistance help or companionship sometimes - whether this is due to a temporary indisposition or advancing age is immaterial. The Wheel of Care is here to help anyone in West Horsley, whenever we can, who might need that little bit of extra help.
Set out below are details about how the scheme works but if you have any queries at all about anything, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Who do I ring?
This is the main telephone number for the Wheel of Care and is manned between Monday - Friday 10am - noon (excluding Bank Holidays):
Who will answer my call?
One of our "Duty Officers" (all volunteers) will answer your call. The Duty Officer changes from day to day but all Duty Officers keep notes of the calls they receive in a book which is passed on to the next person so that anyone answering this number should be able to help you and answer any queries. If necessary, the Duty Officer can also contact the Committee members directly if the need arises.
How far in advance can I ring?
We will accept bookings for journeys up to one week in advance. It would be appreciated if you were able to give us at least 48 hours' notice to allow us time to find a free volunteer but, of course, we understand that this may not always be possible and we will always do our best to help. However, finding volunteers to help on the same day that you call is virtually impossible as we never know whether volunteers are going to be around to help on any particular day.
What happens when I first call?
The Duty Officer will take some brief details from you, including your name, address, contact telephone numbers, date of birth and next of kin. If there are any special instructions on how to reach your home, it would be appreciated if you could let us know to make things easier for volunteers to find your house. Likewise, if you have any mobility problems or use an aid such as a walking stick, frame or wheelchair, please let us know so that we make sure we ask volunteers who are able to help you.
What information do I need to give the Duty Officer?
You will need to tell the Duty Officer your name, the telephone number on which you would like us to call you back and details of the help you need, such as where you need to go or what you need us to do for you. If you need help with transport, you will need to tell us the date and time that you will need picking up, the time of your appointment and, if you know, approximately how long you expect the appointment to last. If you are asking us to take you somewhere other than the Medical Centre or The Royal Surrey County Hospital, please make sure that you have the address available as we and the volunteer will need to know how to get there! If you have any special requirements, such as a car which can take a wheelchair, please let the Duty Officer know.
What happens after I have called the Duty Officer?
The Duty Officer will call registered volunteers to see who is free on the date and time you have requested help. Since we try to ask volunteers to help only once a month, trying to find a free volunteer can sometimes take a little while but we will call you back as soon as we can, normally within a few hours and will give you the first name of the volunteer who has agreed to help you and will confirm the time that the volunteer will pick you up or come and help.
My appointment has changed or has been cancelled. What do I do?
Please call the Duty Officer as soon as you can. Please don't worry if this happens after the Wheel of Care has closed for the day and the volunteer is due to come to you before the Wheel of Care opens at 10am on the next working day. Just explain the situation to the volunteer when they come to collect you - we know they will understand that you were unable to let us know - although it would be helpful if you could call the Duty Officer so that we know that the request was cancelled.
Is there a charge for this service?
The Wheel of Care is a local charity and is entirely funded by donations and contributions. Although there is no "charge" as such for using the Wheel of Care, we do ask those using our service to make a small contribution towards the cost of the journey if they are able to do so. These contributions are "standardised" depending on where you live (ie the length of the journey) so as to be rigorously fair but the donations are entirely voluntary and you are, of course, free to give more or less, if you wish. When you book your journey, the Duty Officer will tell you the suggested amount and the volunteer will have a small brown envelope with them in which you can place your donation.
Can I leave a message for the Wheel of Care if I call when it is not open?
No, we are sorry but the answering machine which the Wheel of Care uses outside the normal operating hours does not allow messages to be left.
Can I request the same volunteer each time?
No, we are sorry but it is not possible to request the same volunteer each time. We try to ask volunteers to help once a month and since many can help only on certain days and at certain times, it is simply not possible to do this. However, we will always try and find a volunteer to help you.
Who are your volunteers?
Our volunteers are local residents all of whom have agreed to give up their time for free and to be called upon to help clients. Prior to becoming a volunteer and as part of our registration process, the Wheel of Care takes two references and all volunteers have a Disclosure and Barring Service check.
Are there any restrictions on where you will take me?
Within reason - no! Typically, we find that most of the journey requests we receive are fairly local or to places that we would all know, such as The Medical Centre in East Horsley or The Royal Surrey County Hospital. If you need to be taken to somewhere which is not local or is not somewhere we would take other clients, please call one week in advance to give us time to find a volunteer who is prepared to drive a bit further. It would also be helpful to have the address, postcode and any specific directions with you when you call.
Can I ask a volunteer to do additional "jobs" for me once they have picked me up?
Since our volunteers are willingly giving up their time to help for free, please do not ask them to do additional jobs or journeys for you but, instead, call the Duty Officer to arrange another job with a different volunteer.
Will the volunteer wait for me during my appointment?
If your appointment is at The Medical Centre or somewhere similarly local, volunteers will wait for you and bring you home. However, if your appointment is at a hospital and you are unsure how long the appointment is likely to take, it may not be possible for a volunteer to wait for you as we try to ensure that volunteers do not have to wait for more than one hour. If this is the case, we would please ask that you make other arrangements to get home.
Important Note: Very long waiting times are currently being experienced at The Eye Clinic at The Royal Surrey County Hospital (up to 4 hours). If you need to go to The Eye Clinic, we regret that it is very unlikely that our volunteer will be able to wait for you so you may need to find your way home, either by taxi or bus or perhaps by asking a friend to come ad collect you when you are ready to leave. We understand that action is being taken by the hospital to try and improve the situation so we hope that things will change here soon.
How do I get in touch with the volunteer who has agreed to help me?
It is Wheel of Care policy that clients are only given the first name of the volunteer and not their surname, address or telephone number. If you need to get in touch with the volunteer who has agreed to help you, please ring the Duty Officer on 01483 281703. Please do not ask the volunteer directly to give you their contact details.
I live in East Horsley. Can you help me?
We are really sorry but the Wheel of Care can only help residents who live in West Horsley (unless you are interested in the Wheel of Care clubs, in which case we can also help if you live in East Horsley, Effingham or Ockham). The only exception we can make to this policy is for East Horsley residents who are a past or present volunteer for the Wheel of Care. East Horsley Care (01483 284802) may be able to assist you, if you need help with shopping, it may be helpful to contact the people who run the Horsley Community Bus (details on local noticeboards or in The Horsley Directory).
What do you do with the information you hold about me?
The personal information which we retain about you (and which you give to us when you first call) is held on a computer and used by the Wheel of Care in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 for the sole purpose of operating the Wheel of Care and will not be disclosed to third parties, unless required by law.
Alternatively, please use the online Contact Form (on the "Contact Us" page) and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as we can.