Partnership spreads the word on community transport scheme

A HELPING hand has been given in Ponteland to raise the profile of a community transport scheme.

Getabout Northumberland uses volunteer drivers in their own cars to provide door-to-door journeys for people who are unable to use their own transport and where public transport is limited or non-existent.

The WRVS-operated service was successfully piloted in north Northumberland and the county council gave it funding to extend to the rest of the county.

After Ponteland Community Partnership (PCP) member David Cobb read about its expansion, he got in touch to say the PCP would help to raise awareness of it.

He said: “The bus service in Ponteland is effective, but limited as it goes round a set route, and although the dial-a-ride is very handy, it only operates for one day a week.

“Therefore some residents find it difficult to get around the village for appointments and other trips and would definitely benefit from the Getabout scheme.

“We are distributing leaflets and putting articles in local publications asking for volunteers, as well as people to use it. Hopefully the numbers from Ponteland will build up over a period of time.”

The scheme can be used for a range of trips, including medical appointments, shopping, visiting family and friends and attending meetings of community groups.

New users need to register and they are charged an annual subscription of £6 and then 50p per mile for each journey.

Volunteer drivers are paid 45p per mile to cover costs.

WRVS Service Delivery Manager Carol Nevison said: “We are very grateful to the PCP for helping to raise the profile of the scheme in Ponteland.

“It’s a flexible service which is based on what our volunteers are willing to do, for example some are prepared to sit with service users before they are seen by a doctor in hospital or at a GP surgery.

“We are looking for more service users and volunteers so we can provide all the trips asked for and because we don’t want the drivers to feel frustrated with a lack of opportunities to help.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the transport scheme should contact Roz Tinlin on 07834 753387 or email Roz.Tinlin@wrvs.org.uk