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More Than Wheels – Community Transport 4 Better Health

May 16, 2024

Community transport helps older people who are vulnerable to social isolation get reconnected to tier community

As we champion Mental Health Awareness Week we look at the pioneering role community transport is playing in bringing communities closer for better mental health and how it can help you to feel less isolated.

Community transport plays a pivotal role in addressing the pressing challenges of social isolation and mental health issues among older people across the UK. While often overlooked until needed, these services are integral to the well-being and vitality of our local communities.

Older people are especially vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, many having experienced the death of spouses and friends, or leaving work, or through disability or illness. Whatever the cause, it’s shockingly easy to be left feeling alone and vulnerable, and it can have a profound impact on our physical health and well-being. 

In Kensington & Chelsea six out of 10 older people are living alone (approximately 12,000 people). And over 50 per cent of over 65s live in first floor, or above, properties. In a borough where so many people are potentially facing loneliness and growing disconnection from society, community transport emerges as a lifeline for those struggling with isolation.

How To Help

According to Age UK, over 2 million people in England aged 75 and above live alone, with more than a million reporting extended periods without social interaction. Community transport, such as Shopper Bus services or Dial-A-Ride and Volunteer Cars help address this isolation by providing a platform for individuals to connect and interact. By facilitating travel to social gatherings, medical appointments, and community events, it helps forge strong networks and relationships, fostering a sense of belonging and security for those who may otherwise feel isolated.

One such example is the Westway CT Shopper Bus service, a weekly service that travels daily to multiple supermarkets across the Borough. Passengers describe the experience as more than just transportation—it’s a social club. For many, this may be their only opportunity for social interaction during the week. On these journeys, individuals exchange news, discuss neighbourhood changes, and provide support to one another, creating a vibrant sense of community within the confines of a bus. You can read more about the Shopper Service here.

More Than Wheels

The significance of community transport is more than just wheels; it serves as a catalyst for community building; the exchange of ideas and resources, it can strengthen and diversify local communities, fostering a more positive social environment. Through shared experiences and mutual support, Shopper Bus passengers develop a sense of camaraderie and belonging, enriching their lives and enhancing their overall well-being.

The bonds forged through community transport may seem unassuming at first glance, but they are undeniably powerful. Whether it’s offering reassurance to a neighbour facing a major life decision or simply engaging in casual conversation, these social interactions contribute to the fabric of community cohesion.

A Vital Lifeline

In essence, community transport is a vital lifeline that sustains the wellbeing and vitality of neighbourhoods across the UK, not just in our borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Its role in combating social isolation and promoting better mental health cannot be overstated. As we recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of community transport, we affirm our commitment to creating inclusive and supportive communities where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

If you or someone you know needs help with community transport please get in touch and talk to us today. Or take a look at what we offer here.