This summer, our regular ECT in Cheshire passengers were offered day trips to eight destinations across the region, including the North Wales coast and Liverpool city centre as well as a local garden centre and shopping outlet.
Free to existing PlusBus users, the day trips were a chance for passengers to meet new people and visit places many had never been to before.
We talked to our passengers after the outings and discovered five key reasons why these day trips are so important to them.
For the elderly or those with restricted mobility, making trips out of the house can be daunting, especially without a family member or carer for support. ECT Charity’s drivers are highly trained in caring for those with varying mobility needs, meaning passengers can feel at ease when travelling away from home.
Mrs Colocott told us: “The day trips are fantastic. I have difficulty walking and can’t manage the normal commercial day trips where you are dropped off in one place for hours until the return. With the PlusBus trip I know I will be with friends and that the driver is only a phone call away in case of any problems.”
Mrs Short said: “The day trips are a godsend for people like me who would have no way of getting out and about to places like Llandudno and Tweedmill. I know from previous use of the PlusBus that even though I am miles from home I would feel safe and supported if I needed help. You just don’t get that from other transport companies.”
The day trips this year took passengers to places they had never seen before, as well as locations that many would struggle to visit independently.
One of the passengers, Mrs Quelch, told us how it felt: “There is no way I could go to places like Llandudno anymore and to actually be driven around the Great Orme was simply stunning. I have never seen such beautiful views before.”
On this year’s day trips, passengers spent time socialising and making new friends.
Mrs Hewitt, who usually uses the service to go on shopping trips, said: “The day trips are wonderful. I am always meeting new people, some of whom are now friends, and we regularly use the PlusBus to meet up together, which we simply couldn’t do without the PlusBus.
“I met a lady on one trip who I had never met before. She needed a bit of help getting around Llandudno as her friend had cancelled, so we helped her during the day and have now become firm friends.”
With specialised vehicles and staff trained to care for vulnerable passengers, ECT in Cheshire enables passengers to travel independently, in spite of their mobility challenges.
After this year’s day trip to the North Wales coast, Mr Hayes said: “If I’m having a bad day with my walking I know I can bring my walker, removing any concerns about being able to get about and not being stuck in one place. Thanks to the day trips I’m now going to places I’ve never even heard of, but I know if it’s on the list it’ll be something I’ll enjoy.”
Elderly people can often feel lonely and isolated from the community around them. ECT Charity programmes such as these day trips enable our passengers to leave their homes and meet new people from their local area.
Mrs King, who normally uses the ECT PlusBus service for going out to bingo, told us: “The whole concept of the day trips is brilliant, and makes us feel as if we aren’t forgotten about after all.”