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Charity: Community Transport Sussex

Thursday, 11 January 2024 09:30

By Marie Claire Macintosh

Community Transport Sussex is an unlikely hero, but one that plays a crucial role in connecting local communities, Marie Claire Macintosh explains more about this valuable service

Community Transport Sussex is an award-winning leading provider of transport for everyone in the community. Public transport options may not always reach every rural area, so Community Transport Sussex steps in and often provides a lifeline for passengers who depend on it to lead independent lives. The service connects individuals to local destinations such as hospital appointments, shopping, and community activities such as a social lunch at their local Age UK centre.

The mission is to 'keep communities connected' by giving people the ability to live independently by providing safe, affordable, and accessible transport services'.

They provide a wide range of services from Dial-A-Ride, a door-to-door service available five days a week which allows passengers flexible travel options to special educational need school contracts, community group hire to volunteer car drivers.

There is also a Travel Buddy Scheme, for those needing assistance with their travels for whatever reason and its based on forming meaningful relationships. Individuals are paired up with someone who will accompany them on the journey to ensure they remain safe and secure whilst enjoying their freedom or hobbies and interests.

Different sectors of the community are supported, from assisting refugees and asylum seekers to get about, to delivering bikes to Ukrainian refugees. The aim is to bring communities together, for example, they launched the first electric community car club in the village of Henfield, which not only helps the environment but cuts costs and is accessible to all local residents.

Community Transport Sussex believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in society and this is reflected in everything they do. By working in partnerships with the NHS, other charities, voluntary groups, councils, and local authorities they can do more on limited resources to help more people.

Pre-pandemic CT Sussex was delivering 120,000 passenger journeys per year and have since increased these numbers. Working through Covid they facilitated more than 2500 journeys to vaccine centres for those who would not otherwise been able to get there. They are also currently running a vaccine hotline to arrange appointments.

One of the key aspects of Community Transport Sussex is its commitment to fostering independence among its users. By providing a reliable means of transportation, the service empowers individuals to maintain an active and engaged lifestyle. Drivers become friendly faces, compassionate listeners, and pillars of support for those they transport, they may also be the only person they see all day along with their fellow passengers. By ensuring that everyone has access to essential services and can participate in community life, the service contributes to the overall well-being of passengers and builds stronger communities.

The backbone of Community Transport Sussex is the dedicated team of volunteers, and there are ample opportunities for individuals to get involved. Whether it's offering your time behind the wheel, assisting with administrative tasks, or becoming a Travel Buddy which opens a world of friendship, your contribution can make a significant impact.

Passionate about fostering connectivity, independence, and inclusivity, Community Transport Sussex is proud to have attracted support from leading actors including Miriam Margolyes, James Bolam, Sue Jameson, Jason Flemyng, as well as Dame Esther Rantzen. Every journey helps to bridge communities and ensure that people of Sussex travel through life with dignity and support. The value provided to local communities cannot be underestimated and it provides a lifeline for so many people.

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