Who can use Community Transport?
This is the third and final article in this series, Who Can Use Community Transport? In the first article we looked into the diverse range of services that Westway CT provides when we asked the question; What is community transport? We explained our range of services from Group Transport Minibuses, and the Volunteer Cars service, as well as the Mobility Scooters and all the Training courses we offer. We even talked about the TfL bus routes.
In our second piece, we delved into Why community transport matters and offered a fascinating insight into the enormous positive impact that a Not-for-Profit Registered Society like Westway CT can have on the community as a whole. We really hope this story explained the bigger picture, from improving our users ‘quality of life’ by providing transport services, to providing jobs and careers.
It has been enjoyable for us to write both previous articles and take in just how far Westway CT has come from its humble beginnings as Kensington & Chelsea Community Transport in 1991, to where it is now. We are very proud of the many services we provide and of the people who run them.
In this article, we would like to tell you a bit more about the people who can use community transport, and tell you about some of their stories; helping you get to know them a little bit better. There are so many to choose from, so we’ve selected just a few to talk about, and we think our selection of individuals and groups shows just how diverse a demographic of society we reach.
Who can use Group Transport Services?
Let’s start with a look at The Harrow Club; they use Group Transport Services. This charity organisation has been providing local young people with accessible and high-quality opportunities since 1883 when it was established by The Harrow Mission (HM). HM founded the organisation to enhance the lives of the disadvantaged young people living in what was then known as Notting Dale, but which we now know as the postcode W10. (See image above, some of the children who access The Harrow Club).
Today, The Harrow Club’s aim is still the same, to improve the lives of the young people in the area and raise their expectations. They do this by working in partnership with other agencies and voluntary organisations to combine resources and provide high quality, open access opportunities for young people aged 8-25. Honestly, the amount of stuff they do is staggering.
They run recreational and educational activities with an emphasis on fun, they offer exciting sports and outward bound programmes, provide opportunities for local families and adults to improve their life skills, they provide opportunities for leadership and listen and respond to local people’s needs through surveys, user forums, outreach and street work programmes. They’re quite remarkable.
As a charity and social enterprise, we at Westway CT understand how challenging it is for another charity like The Harrow Club to operate day-to-day. Group Transport is possibly one of the last priorities on the list for some organisations with everything else they have to juggle. Our team are always thinking about what help could be offered to reduce transport costs and help make utilising community transport more of an organic part of their regular activities and at a cost saving.
Using grant money from the third phase of our Innovation Fund, we have been able to provide the Harrow Club and many of our Group Transport members, with free MiDAS (minibus driver training) for two of their staff. Having MiDAS trained staff or volunteers in an organisation like the Harrow Club means they can nominate their drivers to drive a minibus for them. Using their own drivers reduces costs by removing the driver charge element when booking a minibus.
We even try to match organisations with volunteers through referrals from the local Volunteer Centre through their list of available volunteers.
Building relationships like these with organisations such as Harrow Club mean that not only do the young people they support, gain access to more opportunities but also that their staff and volunteers are upskilled and more versatile in their roles. Add to that the benefits of reduced transport costs and the more natural integration of transport into their activities and the positive impact we make are seen across many scales of their organisation. It’s a beautiful thing to help make a difference for such a fantastic charity like them.
Who can use Services for Individuals?
Services for Individuals are available to residents of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) and Westminster. Mary is an older lady who lives in RBKC and struggles to use public transport unaided because she has a bad hip. Mary will freely tell you that she often feels lonely and very isolated but recently became a regular visitor to the Second Half Centre in St Charles Hospital, and uses the Volunteer Cars Service to attend a ‘chair exercise’ class every week. Mary also uses the Shopper Service to get her weekly food shop and has told us that this shopping trip is just as much a social outing, as it is a necessity. At our recent ‘Sandwich Lunch’, Mary told us that our services are a ‘lifeline’ for her and she wouldn’t cope without them.
As a member of Services for Individuals (SFI), Mary can access all three services under the SFI umbrella which includes both mentioned above, plus the Mobility Scooters.
Who can use Training Services?
The next person we want to tell you about is driver Alex Hernandez (see Alex in the image below). Alex came to Westway CT through our Drive Time Project; run in partnership with Campden Charities. In 2014, we provided Alex with funded PCV Training and started him on a career path as a professional driver. He began a tailor-made training programme designed, written and delivered by Westway CT which launched his career in paid driving. Four years later, Alex has added to those first qualifications with MiDAS Training and First Aid Training and is one of our very own Westway CT drivers.
Lastly, we would like to tell you about Jack. Jack is a self-employed, independent owner-driver who operates his own executive transport service. It’s a legal requirement for drivers like Jack to have maintained their training at regular intervals. As an approved, registered Driver CPC training centre, Westway offer CPC training for drivers like Jack, at a competitive cost.
So Jack gets the training he needs to continue running his business at an affordable cost, and we get to reinvest the course fee into things like the third phase of our Innovation Fund to help groups like the Harrow Club.
Volunteering for Community Transport
CTs can’t run without the many volunteers who support them but telling you more about our fabulous volunteers and our Volunteering opportunities is a whole additional article. If you would like to know more about volunteering here at Westway CT, please see the web page with all the info.
We hope these four snippets of information about our users have given you a better understanding of the kind of people we work with. There are so many more people we would love to tell you about. People from all walks of life. From the fit & healthy sports-loving kids and young people at the Harrow club to the most elderly and infirm in our local communities that we provide vital services for. From large organisations to individuals, from the unemployed to the self-employed, the work that we do at Westway CT is far-reaching, has implications and benefits to individuals and groups on and off the road and beyond.
As a transport provider, we do so much more than transporting people from A to B; we transform peoples’ lives. We take all that we have, all that we are and we put it to work to help people to get around, help organisations expand their businesses and their horizons and to help people support their families through work. We help break the cycle of loneliness and aid in reducing isolation for so many.
Our objectives and goals are, and always will be, about so much more than just numbers of trips and journeys, or bums on seats. For us, it’s about the people.
If you would like to know more about ‘Who Can Use Community Transport’ anything covered in this series of three articles such as the Innovation Fund, you would like to inquire about training, volunteering or paid driving; please do not hesitate to contact us.
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