Serving the Community: Burtonwood and Winwick Community Bus | DANSA 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 doubt 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 stories of two of our members below.
Burtonwood and Winwick Community Bus are facing the issues you’d expect in these difficult times – their usual passengers are self-isolating or social distancing so they’re no longer operating their usual passenger journeys; they’re facing a loss of income from fares and have had to apply for emergency funding grants. Despite these pressures, they’re still determined to be a force for good in their community, running certain essential journeys, and delivering food and medicine to people who need it.
Their essential journeys have included taking a terminally ill passenger to the doctors, a key worker to work and one older lady to collect her pension after the local post office had closed. “We’ve adapted our work,” said Cathy Mitchell, the organisation’s Chair. “We now support our community pharmacy by delivering medication for them as well as shopping for groceries up to £20. We’ve also signed up to help the council deliver food parcels to people and have offered to support Warrington foodbank with similar work.”
Cathy is also the local councillor for the area, and had previously sent out leaflets to all the residents in her ward, letting them know about the services available. In response, people told her how thankful they were for the organisation’s efforts to keep their community connected. “We’ve also had 30 new volunteers come on board,” said Cathy, “although it’s been a challenge getting them processed and DBS checked in such a short timeframe.”
Cathy also told us that because their usual passengers can’t come out on the buses, they’ve lost what, for some, is the only place where they can get frequent social interaction. To try and mitigate this, the team is making sure that their usual passengers can still get to talk to people if they want. “Our admin teams are doing regular wellbeing calls with our vulnerable members” said Cathy, “they’re on a 9-5 rota, 7 days a week at present.”
This outreach work is clearly having an impact on those unable to leave their homes. “Thank you so much for collecting my meds and a loaf of bread this morning,” said one passenger. “I’ve been really stressing about how to get meds for a while and I never thought I’d be so grateful to be able to have my morning toast! You’re doing a great job, stay safe.”
DANSA Community Transport based in Crynant, Neath Port Talbot are also going the extra mile to support isolated people in their rural community. The team at DANSA have set up a food delivery service for vulnerable people in the community, with the meals freshly cooked at their community café and delivered to the door by their wonderful team of dedicated drivers. Food is ordered by phone the day before and the fleet of community transport vehicles are dispatched daily to ensure that isolated and vulnerable residents are able to access a hot meal.
In addition to this, the team at DANSA have put together a pack of essential items for those who are now unable to access shopping. Their regular services would see them taking their passengers to the shops but as they’ve now all been stopped, it’s vitally important that they take the supplies, which are pre-ordered and packed on site, to the people who need them.
“We know that this is a frightening, isolating time for many people, particularly those with limited mobility or support networks.” said Jeff Davies, Business Development Manger at DANSA. “Whether it’s delivering hot food or vital supplies, we are pulling out all the stops to help as many people as we can as quickly as we can.
“This is a time for everybody in the community to pull together and do what they can, and we are determined to do our bit. By using our vehicles to get vital supplies and home-cooked meals to people, we hope to help those who can’t access transport and perhaps don’t have a support network.”
“Without this service, we wouldn’t know what to do,” said one of DANSA’s regular passengers. “We thank you all at DANSA for what you’re doing and we’re so proud of you all. Make sure you’re staying safe.”
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.