Celebrating Community Transport at the National Assembly for Wales
by Tom Jeffery
Marketing and Communications Executive
On 28 November, CTA held an event at the National Assembly for Wales to celebrate the value of community transport. At the event we shared with Members of the Welsh Assembly (AM) our thoughts on how community transport can fit in with the current and future policy priorities of the Welsh Government and the extent to which it is a lifeline to people across Wales.
At the event, AMs were joined by community transport providers who parked their minibuses in front of the Senedd and brought along their passengers to show the real life impact of what they do. Attendees, including AMs, community transport providers and other representatives from the wider charity and transport sectors, then gathered in the Pierhead building for presentations by the CTA team and AMs.
In opening the event, Christine Boston, CTA’s Director for Wales, talked about the importance of community transport as the connection between people and their communities and why it needs to be considered by government and politicians at the outset of any policy decisions. “Community transport is a key part of the puzzle when it comes to developing services and making good things happen,” she said. “We can have lovely, shiny new clinics and hospitals or the best social initiatives in the world, but if we don’t consider, from the very beginning, how we will get people to those places, we cut out a huge group of the most vulnerable service users right from the outset.
“Community Transport isn’t just about the nice things for individuals, it’s about long term savings for our public services – the savings made when an individual is able to continue living in their own home; the savings made when an individual has good mental health; the savings made when an individual is no longer lonely and isolated. We know that there are significant financial benefits of investing in and supporting community transport.
“For those of us who enjoy easy access to transport, it can be easy to forget the transport needs of those who aren’t so lucky whether that be due to personal circumstances or public provision. However, it’s vital that the voices of these passengers are heard to take account of the access needs people have in rural areas in particular, but in urban areas too.”
Support for Community Transport
Christine also thanked the AMs present saying: “as we have quite a few elected representatives here, I would like to thank them for their efforts and ask them to continue championing community transport so that we can ensure these vital services can continue to be delivered. We’re also grateful for the strong public support from the Welsh Government.”
This support was evident in the number of Assembly Members from across the political spectrum who attended the event, including our speakers John Griffiths AM, Russel George AM, David Rowlands AM and Sian Gwellian AM.
John Griffiths, who sponsored the event, said: “I am very glad to be sponsoring this celebration of community transport in the Assembly. Community transport providers deliver invaluable services across Wales and are so often the only means of travel for many vulnerable and isolated people within our communities. This event is a great opportunity to celebrate all the sector does in ensuring that everyone in Wales has access to the best that our communities have to offer.”
The event was filled with supportive speeches from the AM’s mentioned above and discussions with the other AMs in the room. Our members shared stories of their successes and challenges, and community transport service users explained how much of a lifeline their local community transport providers are.
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event, it was a great day that showed the enormous cross-party support for community transport in Wales.
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.