The founder of the West Somerset Car Scheme Partnership was honoured on Friday 10 May with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community.
At a special ceremony held at Taunton Museum’s Castle House, Jean Humber from Withycombe was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Annie Maw.
Jean founded, developed and continues to support the West Somerset Car Scheme Partnership (WSCSP) – a support group for existing parish car schemes with car scheme members coming from parishes in West Somerset, Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor.
In 2003, Jean saw a real need in her rural parish for a transport service. She therefore set up Withycombe Wheels – a Community car scheme which uses volunteer drivers to help those unable to use public transport because of age, physical or mental disability, ill health or isolation.
Over a decade later, she continues to dedicate a lot of her spare time to inspire and organise volunteers and run the local service.
Jean Humber said: “Although I have been awarded this Medal, there are so many others who are equally if not more deserving and in accepting this award, I truly am accepting on behalf of all those other volunteers involved in the car schemes across West Somerset.”
Somerset County Council supports the service through providing guidance and advice on running community car schemes.
Nicholas Margison, Transport Commissioning Manager at Somerset County Council said: “We’d like to congratulate Jean on her British Empire Medal and thank her for all the hard work and dedication she has given to her local West Somerset community over the last forty years. Due to Jean seeing a need in her community all those years ago, there are now 15 voluntary car schemes under the WSCSP. The Scheme members now have over 200 volunteer drivers covering West Somerset, carrying in excess of 3,300 passengers and covering over 55,000 miles over the last six months.”
For details of community car share schemes in your area, check out https://www.travelsomerset.co.uk/community-transport-services/. If you are interested in setting up a community car scheme, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Somerset Direct on 0300 123 224.