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The importance of community transport

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‘I don’t want to go into a care home, I want to be my own boss. Community transport helps me to stay independent.’[1]

For many people, community transport is their only means of getting to and from a medical appointment. It plays an important part in tackling social isolation, maintaining well-being and enabling people to access health services. It’s especially important for older people and those with disability or mobility issues, but also for younger people and families who lack their own transport and need to get to college, commute to work and access social facilities. In a primarily rural county like Norfolk the challenges are greater than in urban areas. Unsurprisingly then, transport is one of the key concerns of the VCSE community across the county, both for users and delivery of services that support independent living. And its importance as a factor in Norfolk should not be overlooked.

Prevention is important - older people who are able to access low-cost community-based transport can benefit from increased levels of physical activity and the social inter-action in using the service. It can help combat social isolation and community transport staff are often well-used to detecting the early signs of the need for intervention.  

Commercial operators often find rural routes financially uneconomic and, whilst subsidised services and the concessionary travel pass are invaluable to many older people, for some areas of the county it’s not just cost to the user which is the issue, but availability. And it’s community transport that can make a world of difference.

‘Community transport benefits those who are otherwise isolated or excluded, enabling them to live independently, participate in their communities, and access education, employment, health and other services.’

Click here to read ‘What next for Community Transport? Insights and ideas for action’ Community Transport Association, 2014

[1] ‘Going the extra mile - Community transport services and their impact on the health of their users’ report for Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations .

If you could offer your time as a volunteer driver please contact Norfolk County Council at https://online.norfolk.gov.uk/volunteerdriver/Default.aspx