Serving the Community: Community Transport Glasgow | Little Green Bus
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 stories of two of our members below and read more here.
Community Transport Glasgow (CTG) is a well-established name within the Scottish community transport sector. Throughout the years CTG has worked exceptionally hard to encapsulate the spirit of community transport by combating social isolation and loneliness, offering a wide range of services from hospital trips for those in disadvantaged areas, to ensuring that young people can participate in team sports at an affordable cost.
In light of coronavirus, Community Transport Glasgow was forced to cease operation on a variety of their transport services. This has resulted in a huge financial loss for the organisation, a situation more and more community transport providers are finding themselves in. But like so many of our members, in response to the pandemic CTG has rapidly reformed the means by which they provide services to meet the essential needs of vulnerable members of the community. It’s widely recognised that community transport is a sector that can adapt during the most unprecedented of times and CTG’s response to coronavirus is clear proof of this.
“Although a lot of our transport services have been cancelled, resulting in a huge financial impact for the organisation, we’re continuing to operate essential services,” said Graham Dunn, Managing Director. “The vital transport being provided includes supporting the NHS, getting train drivers to work to ensure the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport Subway continues to operate and running our Community Bus Service to enable people to get to the local shops and chemists. We’re also continuing to run our Transport Hub for NHS Lanarkshire which will provide an even more valuable service at this time by being able to co-ordination much needed medical transport. Over the next few weeks we are looking to see how we can assist our local communities in relation to transport co-ordination and deliveries of shopping and medicines to those who are sheltering, if we have the resources and finances to do it.”
“In times like these it’s important that, although so many of us are apart, we pull together,” said Emer Murphy, CTA’s Support and Engagement Executive for Scotland. “It takes the sort of innovation that is at the heart of community transport to reach and connect vulnerable people in these difficult times, with organisations facing threats to funding and staff. For many years, Community Transport Glasgow have worked tirelessly to integrate transport services in the Greater Glasgow region. These efforts have undoubtedly stood the test of such unusual times, enabling transport, health and social care networks to pool resources and expertise to deliver the most efficient service to vulnerable populations. Today and every day we are hugely thankful for the amazing work of community transport.”
Little Green Bus is a charity based in Lancashire, which provides accessible and inclusive transport to those unable to use regular public transport. As with many community transport operators, they help to combat loneliness and isolation by helping people to connect with their communities. Whilst the demand for their usual services may have almost disappeared during these unprecedented times, the risk of people becoming lonely and isolated is greater than ever.
This is why Little Green Bus has launched ‘operation keep in touch’ to try and maintain phone contact with their regular passengers. They’re also using their drivers who can still work and volunteer to help deliver shopping to those with no other way of accessing supplies, and maintaining regular contact with local government, their Council for Voluntary Services and other key stakeholders to ensure that there is a coordinated effort in response to the crisis. Going forward, they’re going to be continuing their work to support the Ribble Valley Foodbank and exploring how their vehicles can be utilised by the NHS.
“Given that we operate in a rural area,” said Donna Atkinson, CEO, “many of our passengers don’t have neighbours and might not have friends and families living close by to provide support. It only takes a very short amount of time for people, especially when they’re older, to lose the confidence to leave their homes. It’s vitally important that we keep confidence levels high by showing them that we really care, supporting them through this, and letting them know that we’ll still be there for them to get out and about when this is all over.”
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.