Online Event Recap: Big Questions Big Ideas – how has coronavirus affected the way we serve and involve passengers in a safe and caring way?
by Rachael Murphy
Director for Scotland
From October to December, CTA is holding a series of free online events looking at important topics for the community transport sector, and what life might look like for our members over the next few months and into 2021. Throughout lock-down, our online events, from our weekly member drop in calls to our Recovery and Restart webinar in July, have been great ways for members to connect with each other and the CTA team in what has been a challenging and uncertain time. Your feedback has been that you wanted to see more opportunities for online events looking at the important topics and issues facing the community transport sector at the moment.
On Thursday 15 October, CTA held its first Big Questions, Big Ideas session. On the question, ‘how has coronavirus affected how we serve and involve passengers in a safe and caring way?’ , we heard from three great panellists: Richard Jones, Chair of Accessible Caring Transport, Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland and Bruce Cruikshank, My Sighted Guide trainer with Guide Dogs.
There was some great discussion, with Richard Jones sharing his lived experience as a user of Accessible Caring Transport, as well as their Chair, focussing on the importance of organisations being user led, and involving passengers at every level. Richard was followed by Eddie Lynch who shared his experience of older peoples’ needs and concerns, and discussed the importance of focussing both on safety and the mental and physical health needs of users. There’s a real fear, Eddie told us, about what the next year is going to hold, so it’s more important than ever that we listen to older service users, asking them what support they need and what’s going to make a difference for them. We also heard from Bruce Cruikshank, highlighting Guide Dogs’ focus on person-centred practice. He focussed on the need to have a conversation with passengers with enhanced needs to understand what they need or want and what they can and can’t do. “The most important thing to do,” he said “is to ask how much assistance an individual needs. It’s all about that person, that that time.” We were also joined by Georgia Sinclair who works with Bruce and who reinforced the idea that those with additional needs are the experts.
The chat facility was a hive of activity throughout the session, with members asking questions for panellists and each other as well as sharing their own experiences and ideas. Some key themes that emerged were the need for co-production of services, particularly when new coronavirus-responsive ideas are being implemented. Being open and adaptable to change, our participants agreed, was key to successfully serving passengers, whatever additional support they might need.
A lot feels unknown right now, and the fog doesn’t seem to be clearing anytime soon. What was clear from our session was that conversation is key, that users must be included and listened to, and that these values, inherent in the community transport sector, are becoming more important than ever.
If you’re interested in attending any of our other events, take a look at ctauk.org/online-events and if you have any questions about any of the topics covered in this event, you can get in touch with our advice service at email@example.com. You can also find our coronavirus guidance for community transport providers at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org receive a call back.
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