Transcript: Driving Miss Daisy

Michael McEwan interviews Ann Overdijking and Christine McIntyre from Driving Miss Daisy in Scotland.

Podcast Episode: Driving Miss Daisy

Category: Disability 


What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.

MM - Michael McEwan
AO - Ann Overdijking
CM - Christine McIntyre

MM On this podcast, we hear about a new service: a service called Driving Miss Daisy. I’m going to be hearing from Ann Overdijking and Christine McIntyre, who will tell us more. So, Ann can you tell us about Driving Miss Daisy?

AO Yes, I’d love to Michael, thank you. Well Driving Miss Daisy, it’s a driving and companion service and we offer a safe, very friendly and reliable driving service and people say, “What is it you actually do?” and I would say, “Well, have a think about what your family member would do if you want to go out somewhere.” Cos that’s what Driving Miss Daisy is all about, is to get people out and about and interacting with their community and living the life they want to live. So, service starts really in their living room, Driving Miss Daisy can arrive into the house and can help people get their jackets on, maybe a prompt to go to the toilet, help them, make sure we’ve got their keys, do everything that a family member would do to help somebody to get ready to go out and then we’ll secure their house to make sure it’s all locked up, anything, whatever the family has decided with the person that they want from Driving Miss Daisy. So, then we start on our journey, cos Driving Miss Daisy is all about journey’s, so we’ve started in the living room and then we come out to the car and then we have various adaptations that help people get into the car safely, swivel handles, grab handles, the vehicles are wheelchair accessible vehicles, so whatever the person needs, we’ll get them into the car safely and we’re looking always for a relaxed departure. Driving Miss Daisy is all about getting interacting in the community and having a relaxed departure. The person will have decided where they want to go, now that could be maybe going for a lunch club, going to meet friends for lunch.

CM Occasionally we get asked to take people to hospital appointments, for physio appointments, really just for days out. Daisy Days, we do longer departures and longer journeys with people, perhaps with some friends, just really some days out that perhaps your son or your daughter would take you.

MM So, it’s not really kind of signposted, it is kind of opening up to what you want to go to. So, you can go basically anywhere and you would take them, yeah?

CM Yes, yeah.

AO That’s exactly right, Michael, we have got lots of different customers who want different things. Later on this year, we’re going to be helping a lovely couple get from Aberdeen down to Southampton and we’ve created what we call a Daisy Chain to help them on that journey, there’s lots of logistics involved but all the Daisies provide the exact same service so they get continuity and we can take them from one end of the country to the other. That’s an extreme example, or we’ve also got local people who are going very short distances to go to, perhaps their local Sainsburys. Sainsburys also have a relaxed lane in some of their stores, so we help people go there and we can get them into help with their shopping. Unlike other transport options, the shopping doesn’t stay out on the pavement, we’ll take it back into the house with the person and put it away for them as well. So, really the service is tailored to whatever the person needs.

MM So, I like the idea and I know you spoke to me about this before, Ann, but about the Daisy Chain, is it? So, tell us how that works Christine, is it a taking a person so far and then the next person would pick them up?

OA Yes, that’s right. We can drive as far as is comfortable for the person, because we can change over the driver and the cars and get down from one end of the country to the other. In this case, this couple have decided that they’re going to have 2 stop overs before they need to arrive at their destination in Southampton and they’re going to enjoy a lovely cruise. So, the logistics have been handled and the communication, because we’re all providing the same service there’s continuity there and the person who picks them up will drive them maybe 3 or 4 hours and then get to a safe point which is comfortable and then there can be a change of driver and a change of vehicle as well. Same vehicle, just a different one, we’ve got these lovely badged up. Beautiful Daisy vehicles that are this lovely cobalt bright blue, with lots of daisies and we call, the business, really is the business with the big heart. And in the daisy logo, you will see there’s a big yellow heart in it, got a business with a heart. So, the Daisy Chain service can be for anybody going up and down the country cos if you can imagine, Michael, so many families now live in different parts of the world from where their children or their grandchildren are and if perhaps you’ve gone beyond public transport, then we’re a safe option and the example I’ve given you from the North of Scotland down to Southampton, they need to stop regularly to take some of their medication as well so, they’ll take their own medication, we just help facilitate it to happen. We’ve got other examples where we’ve helped reunite people, especially at holiday times, Easter times, Christmas time, can take people, we can meet their family half way, we can take them down the M6, down and meet them, meet the family at a rendezvous as well, we can do that or we can help people get on trains. Daisy’s, we’ve helped put people on trains saying, “Glasgow City Centre.” And then when it stops at the other end, there’s another Daisy waiting to then take them onto their next destination.

MM So, Christine, how can it help people change their lives about, like isolation and then when they come to you, they’re like, “Wow.” Can it be like constant to go out?

CM Well really what we’re looking at is helping people live the best possible life that they can. Now, that can be increasing their confidence in going out. It can increasing their self-esteem through maintaining the person’s independence for example if you have an older person that has always been able to drive and for one reason or another they’ve lost their confidence, they’re no longer able to drive but they’re still more than capable of going out and enjoying their lives and the only thing that’s perhaps hindering them is their ability to drive. So, we would then step in where a family would normally be and we would step in and provide the transport for that but not only transport, it’s also a bit about befriending and companionship. So, through that befriending and companionship, you can really help to introduce people back into their local community, as Ann has said …

AO Uh huh.

CM … but also into the wider community and it’s really people who perhaps don’t want to be a burden to their family, for example, if you have a younger person that’s increasing their self-esteem, making them much, much more independent, for example, taking people on outings, taking them to concerts, really we can provide any kind of transportation or any kind of befriending service.

AO You’re spot on there, Christine, because we have helped people put the balance back in their lives because some times when the family members have to be the ones that are solely responsible for transport, people can no longer have new stories to tell the rest of the family because the family’s already been involved in everything so, it creates new experiences and new opportunities that are done independently of their family to allow them to get back to perhaps what they used to do themselves like going to their bridge club 3 times a week or going to a lunch club or just anything that is of interest to them that they never used to go with their family member, they went themselves. The other way is we also help families on big occasions, for example like weddings, so if you think everybody … I think I could almost safely say, everybody’s been to a wedding, that when you go to a wedding, there’s always a family member who maybe needs that extra bit of support and it’s maybe the gran, who’s usually driven around by, who’s now the mother of the bride and then there’s the bride so, the gran really needs a wee bit extra help at the wedding and getting … make sure because we’re such a reliable service we can offer the driving and the companionship for a wedding so, we’ll take them to do their hair, get their hair done in the morning and then take them to maybe go and see the bride as she’s getting ready, whatever the family wants, and we would basically be the support to the person who requires transport to get them to the church on time, get them to the reception on time and get them so that everybody else can enjoy the day and not be worrying about helping their Granny Barbara or their granny or Uncle Freddy, do whatever they need to do in that way. Does that make sense, Christine, have you got anything to add to that?

CM Absolutely, yeah but also to ensure you know that the person perhaps might want to leave a wee bit earlier at night and that means …

AO Yes.

CM … that the rest of the family can carry on with their night and Driving Miss Daisy will make sure their relative’s home nice and safe, we’ll give you a message back as well at the end of the night to let you know that everybody’s absolutely fine, they’re home safe and sound and the rest of the family can carry on enjoying their night.

AO That’s it.

MM And do you feel as though that if people come to you for the first time, they’re not very kind of a bit unsure about going in your vehicle and then when you go back also they’ve been moved forward a few time maybe like a 5 weeks beyond the time that you’ve met them …

CM Uh huh, uh huh.

MM … that they’re more at ease with you.

CM Oh definitely, oh yes, definitely. We always arrange to go out and see …

MM Yeah.

CM … anybody who calls up to find out about the service, we want to go out and meet the person to make sure we can look after them safely, meet their needs, meet their transport needs, look exactly what the access is like, in and out their house and because when people, when the mobility changes, things change so we need to be able to make sure we can keep them safe and it’s like anything, when you meet somebody new for the first time, you’re not sure how it’s going to go, there’s a bit of anxiety there but we do this every day and we all love what we do, there isn’t anybody in Driving Miss Daisy that doesn’t like what they do, we all love it.

AO Absolutely.

MM And you’re a fairly new service to Scotland, I mean Christine, is that a new person to (… unclear)

AO Yes, it’s really exciting because Driving Miss Daisy’s been in the UK for the last 4 years …

MM Yeah.

AO … it was a franchise that started in Canada, went over to New Zealand and now has come to the UK and I saw the business, it’s a franchise business and I saw it and decided that I thought I would really like to do this and I brought it up to Scotland so, I started, I’m Glasgow South and I started on the first of October and I’ve got Christine McIntyre with me who’s going to be starting in Inverclyde and Renfrew so, delighted that we’ve got another Daisy and hopefully there will be a few more joining us so that we can …

CM Hopefully, yeah.

AO … reach out over the rest of Scotland cos we’re so far, we’ve had a really very positive response, really very busy.

MM Cos it’s a good service that you provide and stuff, you know.

CM Yeah.

AO It’s a very fulfilling service.

MM Yeah, that’s what I was going to say Christine, it sounds as though listening to yourself to Anne, you get a lot a lot out of it.

AO Oh yeah, we do.

CM Absolutely.

AO We do and I feel we also feel that, you know that there are different transport options that people can try out in the community, we’re not saying that Driving Miss Daisy is the solution for everybody, there’s lots of different options, I know in East Renfrewshire, we’ve got the wee red bus, have you got that in Renfrew as well?

CM We have it in Inverclyde.

AO Inverclyde, so …

CM Yeah, we will have it.

AO … that’s one option, there’s the orange buses, the SPT transport, you know there’s lots of different charity options but one of the biggest challenges, most charities face is transport so we could perhaps be an option to fill in some of the gaps to make sure people can interact with lots that’s going on.

MM So, am I right that you’ve got to join Driving Miss Daisy or can anybody phone up or do you have to be maybe a member of your organisation?

AO No, no that’s a good question Michael, but no, you don’t need to be a member. We’re open to any enquiries, just give us a call, we’ve got a customer service team that answer the phone and they’d be more than happy to give you an introduction to what Driving Miss Daisy is all about and then depending what area you phone up from, they’ll then connect you with a local Daisy and see if we can provide the service that you need. We’re affectionately known as Daisies but actually, Michael, if you remember the movie, Driving Miss Daisy, the passenger is Miss Daisy.

MM Yeah, yeah.

AO But we’ve affectionately called ourselves Daisies.

MM Maybe to point out that your name’s not Daisy.

CM This is Daisy Ann and I’m Daisy Christine.

MM Yeah, yeah. So, basically if people want to get involved as in …

AO Yes.

MM … be a Daisy basically, how would they go about it, go through the phone number that you’ve got?

AO Yes, they would. I can give you that number and you mean as them be the be the passenger?

MM Well a bit of both, yeah.

AO Yes, a bit of both.

MM Yeah.

AO So yes, they can phone up. Any enquiries, phone up on the 0333 number, it’s 0333 014 6211. Will I repeat that Michael, like they do on the tv?

MM Cool, yeah.

AO 0333 014 6211.

MM And your website?

AO The website is and we’re also on Facebook, Driving Miss Daisy, if you want the Glasgow one, Driving Miss Daisy Glasgow and then you’ll see where we’ve been out and about to and what we’re up to.

MM And you’re … I think it’s important to say, you’re not going away any time soon and that’s you.

AO Oh, yes oh absolutely.

CM We’re here to stay.

AO We’re here to stay, definitely and keen to speak to lots more people about providing the service to them.

MM Okay, thank you.

AO Thanks.

MM And good luck.

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