Volunteer bus driver keeping the community connected - Juniper

Volunteer bus driver keeping the community connected

“I am too young for lawn bowls and golf, so I will stick to making people’s day,” says Juniper Volunteer bus driver Gareth Lewis.

The 77-year-old has been driving Juniper buses for the past four years and believes it is his secret to a happy life.

“I feel terrific being able to drive those around who can no longer do it themselves. It makes me smile, and they are all so appreciative,” Gareth says.

On Fridays, Gareth takes the RoseMount retirement living residents’ food shopping, and once a month volunteers at Juniper John Bryant and Juniper St David’s Residential Aged Care homes.

Gareth says he has formed a special relationship with the RoseMount community and looks forward to their weekly bus trips.

“I have made some special friends over the past four years. I sit with one of the residents, Hans Hornscheitt, every Friday and he buys me a coffee and we chat. Sometimes all the residents want is someone to sit and listen to them, and I am so lucky to have the time to be able to do it,” Gareth adds.

“Last week I took the Juniper John Bryant residents for a long drive along the river, and as a treat, we stopped off at McDonalds for ice cream. On other weeks I have taken them for a coast drive, and they love it!”

This week is WA Seniors Week, an annual event to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution older people like Gareth have in the Western Australian community. WA Seniors Week is also a celebration of seniors’ active participation in community life, and thanks to the help of Gareth, residents at RoseMount can continue to live independently.

“Being able to take the RoseMount residents to the shops allows them to do their weekly food shopping, run weekly errands, and catch up with friends for a coffee. I help them get on and off the bus, and with their groceries, so they are always at ease,” says Gareth.

“These bus trips mean a lot to them as it helps them stay living independently at home and keeps them connected with their friends and the community. I am grateful to have the opportunity to help them while being surrounded by such good people.”