• Hay and District Dial-a-Ride | Community Transport Christmas

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    • Hay and District Dial-a-Ride | Community Transport Christmas
    • by Lesley Moore
      Chief Executive, Hay and District Dial-a-Ride

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    Hay and District Dial-A-Ride has been operating since 1994 – this year will be our 25th Christmas bringing people together. We exist to support people who, due to age, disability or finances, are unable to access private or public transport. Focusing on tackling social and rural isolation, we support more than 300 members to take more than 5600 journeys of over 21,000 miles a year.

    Christmas is a very busy time for our team, as so many of our service users are lonely and isolated and without our buses would be stuck at home. In the run up to the big event we put on extra journeys, enabling our members to participate in Christmas community events with the local Mothers’ Union, social clubs, lunch clubs, and Dementia Cafés. Making links with other parts of the community is so important for us – there is more to life than hospital appointments!

    As our service rely so heavily on our team of volunteers, we close over Christmas week to make sure everyone has the chance to spend time at home with their families. To help our members get ready for this, we will put on extra shopping trips and additional runs on our ‘Bank Bus’ – usually a monthly trip from Hay into Brecon, funded by a National Lottery ‘Awards for All’ grant which CTA’s Connecting Communities in Wales team helped us to secure earlier this year. This bus is free of charge and allows passengers to get to their nearest bank and other shops, both for Christmas presents and the essentials to keep them going.

    Last Christmas we brought some of our members together to celebrate, as the friends they make on our bus are a really important part of their lives. Using both buses and some of our volunteers in their own cars as well, 25 of us got together at a local restaurant. For a lot of our members, this was the only Christmas dinner they had as they live alone with no family nearby. While we can’t run to a dinner on Christmas day, it is a privilege to be able to bring together people who are vulnerable, isolated and often very lonely to celebrate with friends they wouldn’t have met without our service.

    “Dial-a-Ride means a lot to me all year round, as there’s no bus service in Llanigon any more,” said Bea, one of our passengers.  “Their Christmas outings mean I can get to see my friends and they always manage to fit me in!”

    We are really looking forward to the Christmas celebrations this year – with it being our 25th anniversary year it will be even more special to bring people together. I am really proud to be part of a team who does so much for the community, this is the best job I have ever had.

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