September 2022: Andrew & Julie Thorneley from Driving Miss Daisy!

September 2022: Andrew & Julie Thorneley from Driving Miss Daisy! -
Andrew, Julie and the team at Driving Miss Daisy

Tell us about yourself and Driving Miss Daisy?

My wife Julie & I have been running the Driving Miss Daisy Nelson Bay franchise since February 2021. We are passionate about contributing to our community, and in Driving Miss Daisy we found a business that is all about making the lives of people better and leaving a positive impact wherever we go. Driving Miss Daisy was founded in New Zealand, is well established in the UK & is now building in Australia as a significant support to the Aged Care and NDIS community.

What are the services you provide to your clients?

Driving Miss Daisy provides a caring, safe & reliable Companion Driving service. With Driving Miss Daisy the client is in charge, free to go wherever and whenever they want.  Whether it’s to an appointment or a visit to the shops or simply to catch up with friends.  In Driving Miss Daisy you have a trusted friend who will always get you there and back. We meet our clients at their door, assist them to the vehicle and ensure the property is secure. We chat, we listen to music and sing along and just have fun. Some clients have us sit with them in an appointment and take notes to give to their family, sometimes it is going on a shopping trip, sometimes it’s just going for a coffee and getting out of the house. We believe that our role is to be Family when family can’t be there™ . We build relationships with our clients and, where possible, provide the same companion on each journey. Our goal is to assist clients to retain their independence while offering a safe & fun journey.

What are the main things you have learnt about your business and/or customers through the Covid pandemic? Did you need to pivot the way you did business in any way?

Given that Driving Miss Daisy often supports the more vulnerable members of our community, we absolutely had to pivot the way we did business.  We are still observing mask-wearing protocol and completing COVID-safe cleans between each customer. We also understand that the isolation protocols that have impacted our community are significant. One of our greatest priorities is to make sure all our clients feel seen and valued each trip. We found that through COVID lockdowns a natural evolution of our service was to check in on vulnerable clients whist family wasn’t able to be around. There was a number of circumstances when clients were stuck at home and their only family were in another state. We would get calls from the family members asking if we could check in on their parents and take them gifts and just make sure the clients knew they were loved.

What do you love about being part of the business community in Port Stephens and why did you choose to be a member of BPS?

The business community in Port Stephens has been so welcoming and supportive to us as a new business. We chose to join BPS to get to know more people, as well as to look for opportunities to support existing services in the area. We have got to know a number of local NDIS & My Aged Care support services through BPS whom we now have a great relationship with supporting each other, referring to each other and offering our services as a subcontractor.

What do you like doing during your down time?

Living in the bay, how could the answer not be something outdoors? Fishing, mountain biking, beaches and spending time with the family are always winners. As well as drinking copious amounts of coffee!

Shout out to your favourite businesses: where do you find yourself eating and shopping here in Port Stephens?

There are so many local businesses that help us stay on the road, Ison’s Mechanics take fantastic care of our vehicles, we often pop in to a mix of places for a coffee stop, Crest, The Nook and Soul Origin are some of our fav’s. When we are looking for gifts or to treat ourselves or our clients, Crows Nest Home Trader always have something nice for the home (or the wife).

Visit the Driving Miss Daisy website here to learn more.