Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Age Concern North Craven (BUS 71)

We are an Age Concern Group operating in the predominantly rural area of North Craven in the North Yorkshire Dales. Our transport service is crucial in this area, as public transport is at best sporadic and in many cases non-existent. It enables older people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Many describe it as their lifeline. All our volunteer drivers and couriers are MIDAS trained. There are currently 60 plus volunteers engaged on the service. It needs a full time member of staff to co-ordinate the service which is very busy and often operating at capacity.

For more than 10 years our older peoples transport service has been partly funded by North Yorkshire County Council and the Primary Care Trust.

We have just lost the £3,000 we received annually from NYCC and the PCT funding of £6,660 is also under threat. If we lose this funding it is likely that we will be unable to operate the service in the future.

We currently run our own minibus. This is our third (bought in January 2009) and we need to purchase a new one every five years. We have always done this through our own fund—raising efforts. Quite an achievement for a small organisation as the last one cost just short of £40,000.

The minibus is used every weekday, some evenings and most weekends particularly in the Summer. We provide a door to door service with a courier who can assist those with mobility or other difficulties. We take older people shopping, provide access to services, transport them to our network of lunch clubs and arrange outings/trips for them. We provide assistants for those who are unable to travel on their own.

The other strand of the service is our volunteer car driver's scheme. We have a team of trained volunteers who will drive older people to appointments often to hospital, GPs or the dentist. Our nearest main hospital is a 45 mile round trip. There is no direct bus route so we often transport older people who have no transport to visit patients.

If this service ends then it will have a hugely detrimental effect on older people in this area who are reliant on it and describe it as their "lifeline". Many would not be able to continue to live in their own homes. It enables them to socialise, meet up with friends and relieves loneliness and isolation. There is no other provider of a similar service in this area.

March 2011

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 11 August 2011