• NVW 23: Volunteering in Community Transport Sector

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    • NVW 23: Volunteering in Community Transport Sector

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    CTA’s Chief Executive, Dr Victoria Armstrong, writes about the invaluable impact of CT Volunteers and why more people should get involved.

    With this year’s National Volunteers’ Week upon us, we are reminded to reflect on volunteers’ significant and invaluable impact on the Community Transport sector throughout the UK. 

    The CT sector involves volunteer-driven organisations providing transport services for elderly people, disabled people, and low-income families. CT services cover transport to health appointments, rides to and from grocery stores, socialising with friends and family, and other essential destinations.  

    It is no news that organisations within the Community Transport sector rely on volunteers to provide their services. Without these volunteers, Community Transport services simply would not exist. CT volunteers provide a range of crucial functions, from driving the vehicles to serving as passenger assistants, managing the administration, and fundraising. Their dedication and commitment are critical to the success of our sector. 

    Of the 20.4 million volunteers across the UK, 1.7 million are directly involved in transport-related volunteering—an astounding figure when you think about the vast array of charitable causes. CTA’s mapping Scotland project identified that over 2000 volunteers were involved in delivering Community Transport services, with each volunteer giving an average of 12.5 hours each week. In England, 94% of CT Operators rely on volunteers to deliver their services and 86% of CT organisations rely on volunteer drivers. Around 30% of CT organisations involve over 30 volunteers indicating how voluntary service forms such a significant pillar of this amazing sector. 

    Volunteering in the Community Transport sector can be a rewarding experience, both for the volunteer and the community. For the volunteer, volunteering can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment. It can also help you develop new skills, build your resume, and expand your network. For the community, volunteering can lead to increased social capital and a stronger sense of community. 

    Over the last 6 months, 65% of CTA members reported lower volunteer recruitment and retention levels, and many have been forced to cut back services. CTA is exploring ways to work with our members over the coming months and years to further strengthen the role of volunteers in Community Transport. We are inspired by volunteers, particularly young people volunteering with their local CT and making a significant impact with their time and efforts. 

    I encourage everyone to consider volunteering in community transport as we celebrate National Volunteers’ Week. The benefits are enormous. Together, we can build stronger communities and a better world. 

    And for all CT Operators across the UK, I hope you have a great time celebrating the efforts of your volunteers this coming week. The sector would not exist without the volunteers who generously give their time and effort to support vulnerable people across communities in the UK, and for that, I extend my thanks to each one of the volunteers who make Community Transport what it is. 

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