Serving the Community: Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport
Community transport is a sector that goes above and beyond to serve communities all over the UK. Day in and day out, our members are lifelines for their passengers, connecting them to the people and places they rely on.
But with the vast majority of their usual passengers having to stay home, and with doubts over funding and availability of staff, the sector, like so many others, is going through a difficult and uncertain time.
Yet in the face of this, we’ve seen community transport doing what it does best: stepping up in times of adversity and serving their communities. At CTA, we want to tell the stories of the organisations who, where they can, are reaching out and supporting those in need. Take a look at the story of one of our members below and read more here.
Emer Murphy, Support and Engagement Executive for Scotland
The new normal. The very premise of that saying is difficult to wrap your head around! After all, what about a global pandemic that has altered our everyday lives, the way we work, socialise or interact with each other is normal? Yet, during such unusual times, we as a society are unquestionably trying to redefine ‘the new normal’. As we transition into new ways of working, uncertainty about what the future holds can become overwhelming. Many community transport providers have been confronted with such fears in the past month and a half. It’s a difficult and uncertain time, but across the UK we’ve seen our members acknowledging these difficulties yet still using them as momentum to unlock new opportunities to serve their communities.
Recently, I spoke to Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company (BSCTC), also known as ‘Where 2 Today’, about how they’re taking existing knowledge and expertise and applying them to new learning and practices in response to coronavirus.
Based in Aviemore, Scotland, the scheme is run by the community for the community and, through the provision of a community car scheme and community bus services, meets the individual needs of people who can’t otherwise access regular and reliable transport. BSCTC has laid their foundation on the basis that healthcare begins within the community, a mindset which has enabled Development Manager Maggie Lawson and her team to quickly adapt their services to meet the needs of the community they serve in these trying times.
“It’s a bit different now,” said Maggie, “we’re setting up community support teams in each of the local villages to support people in self-isolation with non-medical issues. We’ve joined forces with three other groups to do this and it’s been like a whirlwind. I’ve been involved in the Aviemore group supporting shopping deliveries, prescription and medicine deliveries, telephone befriending, supporting our local foodbank, as well as offering a dog walking service for people who are unable to leave their homes.”
BSCTC have also seen a surge of support from younger members of their community wanting to volunteer to help them see this crisis through. “This experience has introduced so many younger volunteers to us,” said Maggie, “which has fostered new communication between younger people and the older generations in our area. Feedback from everyone involved has been incredibly positive.”
As we contend with coronavirus, existing knowledge and expertise can be challenged as traditional community transport services and roles are uprooted to meet new and changing needs. Rising to this challenge, Maggie and her team have worked tirelessly to maintain a presence within their community. It is widely recognised that community transport is not just about transporting people from A to B, but championing community cohesion and combating social isolation and loneliness through the provision of transport. In the face of adversity it is fantastic to see community transport providers like BSCTC and so many others holding such a presence in their community and rewriting ‘the new normal’.
If you have a story to tell about the work you’re doing to support your community at the moment, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact the CTA advice service if you need any further information. The CTA team are currently working remotely, so to ensure you speak to the right person first time, please email email@example.com receive a call back.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.