Daventry Area Community Transport | Community Transport Christmas
by Rob Kinning
Chief Executive, DACT
In the lead up to Christmas, we ﬁnd that the members of our DACT Dial-a-Ride service like to come into town and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in the shops and coﬀee bars. Many of our members live on their own, with the average age of our passengers being 81 years old. This a clear indication that the service is a massive support to those who are most vulnerable in our community at Christmas.
We provide many transport and mobility services to the local community, giving them the opportunity to get out, shop, socialise and attend important appointments. But what about when the weather is so bad with snow and ice on the ground making it dangerous for people to step outside their front door? At a recent Christmas, with dangerous footpaths making it impossible for our Dial-a-Ride passengers to get out and get their Christmas food shopping, DACT came up with a solution to the problem.
We contacted our vulnerable passengers to ﬁnd out what essential shopping they needed, and then made up orders which we could obtain from a local supermarket. A volunteer with a suitable 4 x 4 vehicle and a couple of volunteers were able to collect these essential orders from the supermarket and then deliver them to the doors of our very grateful members. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! DACT‘s membership is viewed as a ‘Big Family’ and with many of our members living on their own, it was our privilege to support them at this diﬃcult time.
Every year, we run a Christmas party from 10 am to 4 pm for our volunteers (some 170 in number). It is always an amazing day full of fun, food, drink and fellowship. We have quizzes, music, lots of stories and just a great day which our many volunteers always look forward to. Lots of our volunteers operate on their own (especially on the volunteer car scheme) and they often say that when the Christmas party comes around, it reminds them of how they are a part of something much bigger than their own single contribution – and that makes them feel so good!
One story that demonstrates how important community transport is at Christmas is that of Sarah, a severely disabled lady with Spina Biﬁda. Aged 29, she was going to have to spend Christmas day alone because she had no means of transport to get to her mother’s home. She relied on being able to get about in a specially adapted wheelchair. The local taxi companies couldn’t help with appropriate transport so she made an appeal through the local newspaper. One of our volunteers saw the story and said “I’m happy to pick Sarah up if I can use one of the buses to do it”. Needless to say, we were delighted to agree and Sarah was able to spend a wonderful Christmas Day with her mum. All part of the DACT service!
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.