To provide safe, high-quality, affordable, accessible transport and social inclusion services to those who have a community transport need in Badenoch and Strathspey.
Services cover an operating area of 909 square miles, primarily helping people gain access to critical aspects and functions of life, easing the challenges of advanced years and the vulnerability this can bring. The project has become one of the largest and most successful community transport operations in Scotland, with 1650 registered clients supported by around 160 volunteers.
A voluntary car scheme and three wheelchair accessible vehicles support B&S CTC’s core community transport activities. Cars can be booked in advance or run on a regular basis, with volunteers providing vital transport links for those with mobility issues.
Meanwhile, a raft of social inclusion services help to provide beneficiaries with better health and well-being outcomes.
A weekly door-to-door assisted shopping service provides heightened independence for people with mobility issues, while prescription collection, weekly lunch clubs and otago exercises are also offered. B&S CTC also run registered bus routes in the absence of adequate services.
Vehicle, wheelchair and mobility scooter hire is also available at responsible rates, while befriending services work in tandem with the community transport aspect to provide a holistic approach to tackling loneliness and isolation.
B&S CTC generates income through a series of registered bus routes. These are primarily used by local residents, but are also popular with the steady stream of tourists who visit Aviemore. A paid transport service is also available for people with disabilities who visit the area.
A service level agreement with the local authority and NHS board helps B&S CTC fill gaps in public services. “It links into a lot of the things we do, so we try to get the balance between serving the community and generating income to sustain our activities,” Development Manager Maggie Lawson explained.
Currently, 48% of funding comes from the Big Lottery, which Maggie believes helped the organisation become more integrated. “Previously we were funded as a transport company, but the Lottery funding included the social inclusion services. That’s been key – if you better integrated services, they would produce better outcomes.”
“The social inclusion aspect of community transport helps provide better outcomes for people, and by enabling people to remain in their own homes for longer, it reduces public expenditure on home care services because they can access so many services through transport,” Maggie commented.
“You know there’s a need out there and it’s in your community. You want to develop something but you realise you have to generate an income to do it so you can become less grant dependent. You need to find a balance of generating some income as well as providing the service. It’s hugely important to be able to provide a service that is a benefit to the community.”