Serving the Community: South Antrim Community Transport
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 story of one of our members below and read more here.
As a rural community transport provider, South Antrim Community Transport provide a lifeline to those in South Antrim, Northern Ireland who don’t have access to a car or public transport. Transport is always a challenge for many rural areas, and one that community transport rises to meet, but as soon as social distancing and self-isolation measures were put in place, South Antrim CT realised rural isolation was going to become even more of an issue.
“We knew that people were vulnerable and isolated at the best of times because of where they lived,” said Lesley-ann Millar, “and that was going to become even more prominent after lock-down, so we asked – what can we help with? We knew that shopping and prescriptions were two items that were vital so we decided to provide a service to collect and deliver pre-ordered and pre-paid shopping and prescriptions. We’ve been working with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council who supply us with food parcels to deliver, and have also teamed up with Toome House who run a lunch club we’d usually take our passengers to. We’re now collecting fresh lunches from Toome House and delivering them to their lunch club regulars! We’re also offering transport to key workers in hospitals within our catchment area and also to hospitals in Belfast.”
“It’s also so important,” continued Lesley-ann, “that we keep in touch with our passengers. One of our colleagues, Rosey, is contacting our service users on a weekly basis, or twice weekly if we feel that they’re particularly vulnerable. And when they see our delivery drivers and have a chat at a distance it might be the only contact they’ll have all day. It’s about people’s mental health, a lot of them live on their own, some of them don’t have any family at all, so they absolutely love seeing someone coming to the door or having a cheery voice at the end of the phone; it really makes a difference.”
South Antrim Community Transport were recently featured by BBC News for a series of stories looking at how the community is coping with coronavirus. You can watch their video and read the full article below.
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.