Community Transport Christmas: Community Connexions
by Jenny Ellis
Community transport does more than connect people to places, it connects people within places. Our regular bus routes provide an opportunity for people to get to know their neighbours and connect with people in their communities. Many of our passengers have bonded and become friends because of travelling together on our buses. Thanks to our community transport, what may have started out as a routine trip to the shops has become a regular social occasion for our passengers, who report feeling less lonely and isolated as a result!
At Community Connexions, we celebrate the connections our passengers have made with each other by throwing them a Christmas Party each year. It’s a chance for passengers who have become friends to celebrate Christmas together, exchange gifts, play games and enjoy some food and drink. It’s also an opportunity for regular passengers from different districts within Gloucestershire to meet each other for the first time and make new connections.
Our Christmas parties help strengthen the connection between our passengers and within our communities. We provide the transport for our parties, which are well attended, and our drivers are always keen to dress up for the occasion. It’s not every day you see an Elf behind the wheel of a bus and Santa helping someone on board.
Christmas is also a time for recognising the invaluable contribution that our volunteer drivers make to our community transport. Community Connexions also offers a door-to-door car service staffed by volunteers who are generous with more than just their time and vehicles; they are generous with their hearts. Our drivers go above and beyond to care for the people they help, from helping them with their shopping to ensuring they get home safely.
Paula, a regular user of Community Connexion’s door-to-door service, was quick to tell her friends at the care home coffee morning I attended recently, how she and one of our volunteer drivers got stuck in the snow on her way to visit her family in the run up to Christmas last year. She said the volunteer driver had a very nice German car but unfortunately, it soon became apparent that it could not cope with the snowy terrain, as they wound their way out of town and towards the country side, where the roads had less grit and snow had collected. The volunteer did all he could to find a solution, wanting to help Paula get to her family.
“We just couldn’t get it to go,” she said, “So Community Connexions sent a bus out to get me! I was there with my very own bus taking me to see my family! When the bus pulled up outside their house, I waved to them from the window like I was the Queen, and when the bus took me home again, I waved to my friends like I was the Queen, sitting there enjoying my own private bus.”
I think of Paula’s story when I think of Christmas at Community Connexions. At Community Connexions, we work together as a community to connect people, especially at Christmas.
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.