Serving the Community: South Pennine 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.
South Pennine Community Transport run community bus services in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Their services extend to surrounding villages where their passengers would be totally isolated if it wasn’t for community transport. For the past five years, the organisation has been serving those who need them the most with a fleet of nine vehicles and 23 community bus routes.
However, since the outbreak of coronavirus and the restrictions that followed, life at South Pennine Community Transport has changed dramatically. After the Government’s advice to stay at home and only travel if essential, only 10% of their passenger journeys were still being carried out. They knew that they still had to be there for those who needed them however, so Director Kevin Carr and his team decided to adapt their existing services and put in place new activities to support their community.
“We very quickly adjusted our services to meet new demands, and introduced some other things to help people along the way,” said Kevin. “We started by allowing concessionary pass holders to travel for free before 9:30, so that they could get to the supermarket at a more suitable time. We’re also running free travel for NHS workers, with one of our services diverted via Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, doing what we can where the need is greatest. When a local bus and coach operator stopped running recently, we also stepped in and are providing emergency cover on six infrequent services in the Holm Valley, meaning people in isolated communities can still make these essential journeys.”
The team also introduced a ‘meet the bus, get your stuff’ programme where people can order essential items and pick them up from the bus the next day. “We’ve also teamed up with our local Food Bank,” said Kevin, “and are taking orders for essential hampers for individuals and families which we’re delivering directly. We’re also putting surplus short life products on our buses for people to take, use or freeze. And we’ve added more books to our onboard mobile library; people can just stop the bus and pick up a book!”
“Without meaning to, we have become a community one-stop,” Kevin told us. “We’re hearing of people’s needs through all channels – from drivers telling us about people that are struggling, to posts on social media, phone calls and emails, we’re responding to and helping with the widest range of issues. This morning alone we have referred a local resident for extra mental health support from the local authority because she’s having difficulty coping with lock-down. We’ve also sent one of our team out to another resident to fix their internet so that they can keep in contact with the outside world. Whatever the problem is, we have a great team that are ready, willing and able to support the community through these difficult times.”
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.