We travelled with a group of 13 Over 50’s Forum members from London to Winchester, on a Christmas market trip that shed light on the profound impact of accessible travel for those with limited mobility.
Westway CT recently secured a Community Spirit grant of £1000 from The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, a significant win allowing us to organise a journey for members of the K&C Over 50s Forum to Winchester Christmas Market on December 15th.
The grant’s stipulation was clear: to fund projects that bring joy into the community. The trip, serving as a gateway to independence and fresh experiences, aligned seamlessly with this criteria!
Three passengers who live independently, all with mobility challenges that limit their physical independence shared with us what the trip meant to them.
Barbara is in her late seventies, she lives on her own and is a former estate committee member, her mobility issues now limit her travels and she can’t explore as she once loved to, or meet others in a similar position on the Estate where she lives. After attending the trip she told us,
“It was so nice to get out of London and explore, and to meet and connect with other people from my estate. I used to do a lot of travelling but now I can’t walk that far and so I don’t venture out of London often, but I would like to explore as much as I used to do so I am very interested in more trips. I think many of the residents here would be interested in Westway (CT), it would be nice to know someone will pick us up and bring us back.”
Elizabeth, also in her seventies, praised the experience, saying,
“I loved it, we all enjoyed ourselves, our driver was a very good man, very kind, and he had patience with us. We haven’t had this before, and now we have asked for another trip to be organised for the Summer, perhaps the seaside! I didn’t know about Westway (CT) before this trip.”
“Most people in our group have challenges like arthritis and use sticks to walk and I have a shoulder injury. We try hard to stay active and socially connected but it’s difficult. Plus the high cost of living and limited access to transport makes it harder. So to be suddenly given the opportunity to travel outside of London to this beautiful city was like Father Christmas coming early. It was lovely, I really enjoyed it.”Sylvia, is in her 60’s
These testimonials highlight the profound mental and emotional benefits of staying connected to your community. For individuals like Barbara, Elizabeth, and Sylvia, this is only possible when additional consideration for their mobility and confidence needs are put in place. Simply ensuring that transport is accessible both financially and practically by having someone to come to them and help them on board, takes away the stress of thinking about organising it and battling it on their own.
Beyond individual experiences, this grant played a pivotal role in combatting social isolation, a prevalent issue in Kensington & Chelsea. The borough, despite its affluence, grapples with mental health challenges, with isolation and loneliness as recurring themes. Initiatives like Westway CT’s excursions bridge these gaps, offering crucial connections for those navigating solitude.
Each effort by Westway CT embodies a commitment to fostering social bonds and confidence among its members, serving as a pathway back to community engagement. Westway CT is committed to helping achieve more connected and supported community for all.
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