Transport service for disabled and other vulnerable people in West Kent
About the project
Compaid Trust has been providing transport services to disabled and other vulnerable people in West Kent (Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Malling, and Sevenoaks) for 30 years. For many disabled and older people in rural areas, a lack of transport services that are both accessible and affordable leads to their exclusion from local amenities and community life generally. In West Kent, many villages have seen a significant withdrawal in public bus services, so Compaid’s adapted vehicles are a lifeline to hundreds of disabled and frail elderly people each week. They take people on journeys to shopping centres in nearby towns, hospitals, theatres and other local attractions.
Their transport service provides a lifeline to more than 1,000 people in and around Kent each year, who rely on Compaid to help them attend hospital visits, day centre appointments, shopping trips or simply to see family and friends. Disabled people of all ages make 37% fewer journeys than non-disabled people. This gap increases to 47% in the 70 plus age group.
Their clients are people who live with a wide variety of disabilities including brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, learning difficulties, autism, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease. The availability and accessibility of transport is an important factor in health and wellbeing and has a greater impact on self-reported positive health than health services provision.
While passengers are charged a heavily subsidised fare to use the service, to contribute towards fuel costs and driver salaries, they rely on other funding to help keep their vehicles safe and on the road. Unfortunately this nominal sum is still beyond many and therefore leaves them without adequate transport access to local amenities and able to live their lives to the full. Compaid are always striving to reduce staffing costs so their volunteers are an integral part of the service delivery. In addition to our paid staff they have eight committed part time volunteer drivers who in the last year have donated over 3320 hours of their time, saving the charity in excess of £26,000 of salaried staff.
To enable them to continue delivering this vital service whilst keeping their fees affordable for those in need, they used the grant to support their volunteer costs and contribute to some of their staffing costs.
Results from the funding
Compaid’s fleet of 21 specially adapted vehicles took 1250 disabled and frail elderly people on more than 39,000 journeys, covering almost 340,000 miles across Kent.
Journeys included transport for:
- 960 disabled and elderly people to attend day services, visit shops, theatres and community events
- 147 people to attend acute, primary and community care appointments
- 40 + disabled children to and from school
Before my neighbour mentioned about Compaid buses, I found shopping and meeting friends a real struggle. I often went days without seeing anyone. Now with the support of Compaid transport, each week a friendly driver picks me up from my home and takes me to a large supermarket in the next town. Here I am able to shop for all the items I need and also have time to enjoy a coffee and a chat with other shoppers whilst waiting for the bus to return and take me home.Compaid Trust Member