Ealing-based community transport provider ECT Charity (ECT) is to deliver accessible transport at the Invictus Games, taking place in London, from 11-14 September.
ECT Charity successfully led the provision of accessible shuttle buses for both the Olympics and Paralympics during London 2012, making them the most accessible Games ever. This experience, combined with the organisation’s social aims and social enterprise structure, meant that ECT Charity was the obvious choice of partner for the Invictus Games.
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Charity, commented: “ECT is delighted to be providing accessible transport for the Invictus Games. We are very proud of the success of our work for the 2012 Games which raised the bar in accessible transport provision. Our London 2012 legacy was about ensuring that mobility-impaired people would be able to attend major events in the future. With everything that the Invictus Games stands for, high-quality accessible transport will allow individuals with disabilities to attend the Games and cheer on athletes taking part in this great event.”
An international, multi-sport event hosted in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Lee Valley Athletics Centre, the Invictus Games will attract over 400 competitors from 13 nations. The competitors are wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. Teams will come from nations whose armed forces served alongside each other. The Games will use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understand and respect of those who serve their country.
Prince Harry was driving to bring the event to an international audience following his inspirational visit to the Warrior games in Colorado in 2013. The events in September will mark the beginning of a legacy programme to support accessibility of adaptive sport and further employment opportunities for transitioning Servicemen and women leaving the Armed Forces.
It is with great sadness that ECT Charity announces that our service in Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes Community Transport (MKCT) will be ending on 31 August after eight hugely successful years.
In 2014, the Council announced that the community transport service would end. In order to cut costs, the Council are integrating their services, as they believe that this will be more cost-efficient. Following a consultation exercise, the Council decided to end the contract and take the operation “in-house”.
Over the years, MKCT has grown into a reputable door-to-door service that has been replicated in other parts of the country and seen by transport authorities as an exemplary model of door-to-door transport provision.
ECT Charity is incredible proud of the MKCT team and all that they have achieved.
Nora Chambers, one of MKCT’s oldest and most loyal members, said: “Having the use of the PlusBus gets me out and about. I meet new people and have made some great friends over the years. It makes a huge difference to my life and I get to go around Milton Keynes and visit places that I haven’t seen before.”
Speaking of the MKCT drivers, she said: “They are very good, very helpful and really friendly. They honestly couldn’t have done more for me - they have been absolutely marvellous.”
For more information on the Council’s decision, and to hear about the history of MKCT and all that we have achieved, read our final souvenir newsletter here.
Earlier this year, Dorset County Council ordered a complete road closure in the village of Abbotsbury, Dorset, whilst Wessex Water carried out road works in the area. Dorset Community Transport (DCT) was asked to provide a community bus service for the duration of the water works.
Regular commercial bus services were bypassing the area, but DCT provided a solution with an exemplary minibus shuttle service, keeping communities between West Bay and Portesham connected to Abbotsbury, reducing isolation despite the road closures.
Work got underway to a very wet and blustery start on January 6, and was scheduled to take up to 12 weeks to complete. The service proved a huge success, with DCT maintaining a regular service despite the stormy weather conditions.
The road closures led to a number of complexities for home to school services in the area, but DCT ensured the smooth running of these services.
Henry Ford, Abbotsbury Parish Chairman, said: “The shuttle bus service has been excellent, particularly for the schoolchildren. Your presence here first thing in the morning, seeing that connections were being made, soon allayed fears that residents and children may be left stranded.”
He continued: “Considering the appalling weather, residents were very impressed with the cheerful and helpful nature of all the bus drivers. The ‘door to door’ service was very much appreciated. The friendly nature of your drivers will be greatly missed.”
The shuttle bus service also helped local businesses survive over the weeks. Helen Chapman, owner of the Old School House Tea Rooms, Abbotsbury, said: “Many of my regular customers come from the next village – I’m sure that without the shuttle bus service, my business would have suffered. The drivers were very obliging, dropping people door to door. The public service is just not the same, it’s not the bespoke service that DCT supplied – they provided a better service than the public bus service.”
Tim Christian, General Manager for DCT, said: “Residents have reported an enhanced bus service compared to the service they experience all year round – it really has been championed as a huge success.”
Paul Turner, Mainlaying Supervisor South, Wessex Water, said: “I had anticipated the disruption to the regular bus services to be the biggest challenge for the project. In the end, it proved to be the least of my concerns with everything running smoothly and the service being well received. I would like to thank DCT for their part in making the Abbotsbury scheme a success story.” Alan Marner, Design Engineer at Wessex Water, said: “Without DCT, the scheme would most probably have been deferred. I would like to thank the drivers – they did an excellent job. The shuttle bus service played a key part in the early finish of the scheme as it meant we were able to close the road to through traffic, while keeping Abbotsbury open for business as usual.”
Anna Whitty, CEO of ECT Charity, said: “ECT is very proud of how our community transport service became part of the solution and delivered additional benefits to the community. This can easily be replicated to deliver a community minibus service in similar circumstances or where a village or community has become isolated due to cuts in mainstream bus services."
ECT Charity is marking one year since the London Olympics and Paralympics with a special report celebrating its gold-standard performance providing ‘Accessible Shuttles’ that helped spectators with disabilities get to watch the Olympics during London 2012.
The report relates the untold story of the remarkable achievements of 24 community transport organisations who joined forces to provide a world-beating accessible transport service for Olympic and Paralympic visitors.
Led by ECT Charity, the community transport providers delivered 100,000 passenger journeys with 150 vehicles operated by 550 drivers and 750 specially trained support staff. On their busiest day the community transport team delivered almost 5,500 trips.
The report was presented to Mayor Boris and transport minister Norman Baker this week. Mayor Boris called the team the ‘unsung heroes’ of London 2012.
At the launch, Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Charity, called on MPs, councillors and executives in central and local government to ensure that support for accessible transport would be at the heart of the London 2012 legacy. Read the full story here.
Leading figures in business gathered at the Savoy yesterday to celebrate the successes of women working in the transport and logistics sector.
The awards programme was founded to raise awareness of the varied and rewarding career opportunities available in the industry, with the ambition to increase the number of women entering into the sector as a career choice and inspiring them to excel.
Finalists for the award were drawn from an exceptional shortlist of individuals working in the UK transport and logistics industry for being best in their field and selected by a panel of expert industry judges.
Anna was appointed CEO in 2008, restructuring the Charity and transforming it into one of the country’s leading community transport providers. Anna led ECT Charity’s partnership with 24 community transport operators to provide the Accessible Shuttles service for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, involving 150 vehicles, 100,000 journeys, over 500 drivers and 200 additional staff.
Anna was hailed by judges as not only an “outstanding business woman” but also a huge role model to the business.
Anna Whitty, CEO of ECT Charity said in her acceptance speech: “It is nice to see community transport in the charity sector being recognised by the FTA, so thank you very much. I would like to share this award with all my community transport colleagues – both the ones that I work with and the CT’s around the whole country.”
“I would like to dedicate the award to those who are isolated and housebound, the people that we provide transport for that cannot access mainstream transport. What ECT Charity do is all about making a difference to those people’s lives.”
She continued: “I would also like to thank everywoman for the recognition and Nikki Short at RBS for nominating me!”
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, commented: “As the transport and logistics industry seeks to employ half a million more people, it has never been more urgent to ensure the sector attracts more talented women. Inspirational female role models enjoying rewarding careers and achieving success will do that. That’s why today’s winners are so vitally important to the industry. We congratulate them all.”
Theo de Pencier, Chief Executive of the FTA said: “The Freight Transport Association is proud to be the Title Partner of the 2014 FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards which showcase how women can make a career in transport a successful and fulfilling one. FTA is pleased to encourage forward thinking companies that are committed to introducing diversity to the freight industry, and working further with everywoman offers opportunities to expand that work. The key for our industry is to be able to access a wider talent pool and to be able to meet its need for good quality staff in whichever role it needs to fill.”
After dedicating over a decade of exemplary service to Ealing Community Transport (ECT), top driver Paul Hurley is set to retire at the end of April.
Paul has worked for ECT for 11 years, and is a shining example of how ECT’s staff are at the heart of the organisation. ECT is currently recruiting for new drivers – and is keen to hear from people like Paul who want a part-time rewarding role that can make a difference to people’s lives and offer a great variety of experiences.
“The work you do is really rewarding – I get a real buzz out of making someone’s day,” said Paul. “You get to meet some lovely people along the way and go to some amazing places – this job has taken me from prisons to Buckingham Palace!”
He continued: ”My favourite thing about ECT is the variety of the work that you do, and the support that is given to the staff. It’s the whole package – they really look after you. They make sure that you have suitable training and provide backup support and advice to all drivers. You are not just simply given the keys and told to get on with it,” he said.
Paul previously worked at Hammersmith Hospital as a health care assistant on the renal unit. Prior to that, he spent 31 years working as an outdoor broadcasts technician for the BBC.
Daniel Shepherd, General Manager at ECT, said Paul possessed all the characteristics of an exemplary driver and team member. “If we ever have any VIPs visiting us, it’s Paul who we put on the job ¬– he is flexible, conscientious, professional and extremely good at his job. Paul is the best brand ambassador you could ask for – his attitude and the caring way that he conducts himself is exemplary,” he said.
Paul has big plans for his ‘retired’ life. He plans to return to ECT for particular trips and special occasions, he recently signed up to an annual membership with Middlesex Country Cricket Club, and he wants to get back into another great sporting passion – playing golf.
More than anything, Paul is most excited about the chance to travel. “There are still lots of places that I have not seen – it will be nice to have someone else behind the wheel!” he says.
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT, said: “Paul has always been a favourite with our passengers and he will be missed by us all.” She added: “If anyone wishes to make a difference in their community as a potential volunteer for ECT, we would like to hear from them.”
ECT Charity recently retained the nationally-accredited Investors in People Standard for its development, support and motivation of staff, with the report highlighting how much staff enjoy working for the charity. The organisation is currently recruiting for new drivers, and would love to hear from anyone interested. Previous minibus experience is not necessary as full training will be provided. For more information on the role, click here or call 020 8813 3210.
ECT Charity will be participating at a Jobs Fair in conjunction with Catalyst Gateway on Wednesday 30th April. This event is open to all job seekers looking for work, training and advice in the West London area.
CEO Anna Whitty shortlisted for Transport & Logistics Awards Director of the Year
ECT Charity is delighted to announce that our CEO, Anna Whitty, has been shortlisted as a finalist for Director of the Year in the 2014 Freight Transport Association (FTA) everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, after being nominated by ECT’s bankers, RBS.
The FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards were founded to raise awareness of the wealth of opportunities offered by the industry and to show the variety of fulfilling careers available, particularly for women.
The awards shine a spotlight on twenty-five female champions, with the aim of highlighting their successes to encourage more women to bring their skills to the industry and inspire them to excel.
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, comments, “As Britain forges ahead in its economic recovery, logistics remain essential to its infrastructure. This fast growth sector has announced a huge recruitment drive and diversity is high on the agenda with a huge variety of opportunity. We congratulate this year’s finalists who have demonstrated that their gender is no barrier to success and that opportunity exists at every level of the career ladder.”
Anna Whitty, CEO of ECT Charity said, “ It is a huge honour to be put forward for this award. It is important that the successes of women in the sector are noticed, and I hope it inspires many more to choose transport as a career option. Moreover, these awards will help to raise the profile of community transport, which is key to attracting the highest-calibre staff and help charities such as ECT to remain successful.”
The winners of the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony, held on the 13 May 2014 at The Savoy, London. For more information on the awards, visit: http://www.everywoman.com/award/about/10
Putting its people first has enabled ECT Charity to retain a nationally-accredited award.
ECT Charity was awarded the nationally-accredited Investors in People Standard award for its development, support and motivation of staff in August 2009. Accreditation for this standard is retained on an indefinite basis, with the proviso that reviews take place every three years. In November 2013, the Investors in People auditor visited ECT Charity as part of this review and the charity continues to retain this impressive accreditation.
The Investors in People framework helped ECT Charity demonstrate its commitment to the on-going development of its staff who deliver transport solutions to those who are unable to access mainstream transport services.
The Investors in People Report noted that “Everyone enjoys working with the Charity. They find it a good place to work with everyone committed to ensuring the long-term future of ECT. Working as a cohesive unit with everyone focused on the key aims of the practice is a situation many leaders in other businesses would envy. The strength for people here is the ‘feel good’ factor in building relationships with people including children, parents and the elderly who they bond with and enjoy developing their ‘special’ relationship with for the benefit of everyone.”
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Charity, says, “We are thrilled to be retaining the Investors in People recognition – it is a true testament to how ECT Charity’s staff lie at the heart of the organisation.”
Companies that have achieved the Investors in People Standard have higher levels of trust, co-operation and commitment than their competitors. In addition, they tend to have increased levels of profitability, employee engagement and productivity.
John Telfer, Managing Director of Investors in People South, said: “ECT Charity should be congratulated for the way in which management and staff have come together to produce real results. I hope other organisations in the industry will look to them as a great example of what can be achieved, and look forward to hearing about further success and award recognition from ECT Charity in the future.”
ECT partners with community programme to help youngsters make a difference
One of the key aims of ECT Charity is to enable other charities to fulfill their own objectives.
In London, Ealing Community Transport (ECT), which is part of ECT Charity, has recently been involved with the work of NCS with The Challenge, a national, government-funded programme run as part of the government’s National Citizen Service (NCS).
The Challenge programme aims to inspire young people aged 16-17 to strengthen their communities through volunteering and fundraising, with a focus on bringing together people from across generations, ethnic groups and incomes.
Young people involved with NCS with The Challenge go through three weeks of training which culminates in four days of volunteering within various community and charitable organisations.
NCS with The Challenge used ECT’s transport services throughout last summer. More recently, the organisation worked with ECT to transport various teams of participants to local charities in order to volunteer their time as part of the culmination of the programme. The volunteering included a wonderful range of activities, such as collecting for the Girl Guides, distributing Christmas cards to older people and putting on tea parties in residential care homes.
Using mainly national contractors, this was the first time that NCS with The Challenge had worked with local community transport suppliers. Their feedback made ECT particularly proud.
Dave King, Programme Manager at NCS with The Challenge, said: “ECT have been so helpful and supportive of the young people and what they do. The drivers and the team have shown a real interest, are reliable, on time and always prepared. If there were ever any last minute issues, the ECT team would always accommodate.”
Dave continued: “The professionalism of the ECT team meant that we could focus on programme work and spend more time with the service users. We were able to go anywhere within the borough, which meant that we were not restricted by bus routes and could visit a broader range of charities and community organisations. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of them. It really is a pleasure to work with the team and I want to thank them for their support.”
Anna Whitty, CEO of ECT Charity, said: “We are very keen to show how young people benefit from our transport services and this story is wonderful to see as it involves connecting generations for social good. We aim to engage with more and more youth services in the future and it has been an honour to be involved in such inspiring work.”
Anna added: “This is a fantastic example of how high quality community transport at affordable prices can make important projects like this viable to operate. It is also great to have been working with a fellow charity working towards a common goal. ECT would love to see more of these kinds of partnerships happening in the future.”
The London Transport Awards were established to acknowledge excellence in transport, recognising development and innovation in transport initiatives across the capital that are operating effectively and achieving their objectives.
ECT Charity is hugely proud of the success of the Accessible Shuttles project and is delighted to be shortlisted for this award.
Anna Whitty, chief executive of ECT Charity and project director of the Accessible Shuttles Project, said: “It is wonderful to see the remarkable achievements of the community transport operators involved on London 2012 being recognised in this way. The sector continues to demonstrate the world-class standards set during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. These awards ensure that our profile remains high, allowing us to build on the London 2012 legacy and the opportunities that are now being developed.”
The London Transport Awards 2014 winners will be announced at the Park Plaza Riverbank London on 6th March 2014.
On the day when London transport came to a halt, ECT (Ealing Community Transport) and fellow community transport organisations were out and about helping hundreds of disabled, vulnerable and older people to make their Christmas Day journeys.
Figures collated this week from community transport organisations across the Capital reveal that they provided over 115 vehicles on Christmas Day, backed by scores of dedicated volunteers.
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT and Chair of the London Strategic Community Transport Forum, commented: “ECT, along with other community transport providers and local organisations, demonstrated selfless dedication to their service users in a joint effort highlighted by the Christmas Day service. Community transport was one of the only services available to disabled, vulnerable and older people on Christmas Day and the services we provide are much needed and extremely valued by our users. Our transport services seek to mobilise and engage people with their local communities and meet the needs of people who don’t have access to taxis, buses or cars.”
One example was Wandsworth Community Transport (see photo), who mobilised its entire fleet of 25 buses with the equivalent number of minibus drivers and provided over 30 wheelchairs as part of a local partnership with Battersea Park Rotary Club. For the past 50 years, Battersea Park Rotary Club has held a Christmas Day lunch for more than 400 disabled and older people in Wandsworth.
Managing Director of Wandsworth Community Transport, Manuel Button, said of this year’s effort: “We know from our many passengers who attend, that the Battersea Park Rotary Club lunch is incredibly important to them and it really helps to make their Christmas. Wandsworth Community Transport is just a small part of the operation with other community transport organisations and local organisations also getting involved- but it does make you wonder how on earth they could manage without all our help. After all, there is no other transport available on Christmas Day and we do invaluable work engaging and mobilising community members who may otherwise be stuck at home on their own. It certainly makes me proud to work in the community transport sector and is a great example of how we fill the gaps left by mainstream transport services and make good things happen.”
A Wandsworth Community Transport service user on Christmas Day said: “The team at WCT assured me they would do everything possible to secure the appropriate vehicle for our needs. And true to their word, on the evening before Christmas Day we were able to collect a mobility vehicle from them. This meant that my brother who lives with Muscular Dystrophy and is a wheelchair user was able to join the whole family for what turned out to be one of our happiest family gatherings ever. We owe a debt of gratitude to WCT, they are a lifeline that we could not do without.”
ECT employee and mini-bus driver volunteer for over 40 years Cynthia Alleeson says of her Christmas Day passengers: “It’s all about helping people. My passengers have said they are so grateful for our service and that if it weren’t for us, most of them would not be able to get out of the house! Quite a lot of regular users are now dear friends but they all become part of your life - even if only for one day a year.”
Community transport is the only safe, accessible and flexible travel option for some community members. Services generally consist of day trips, group transport, door–to-door transport, shopping services, and services often in partnership with local councils or charities such as home-to-school and park-and-ride journeys.
The winter can be a challenging time for some older members of the community, but Milton Keynes Community Transport’s (MKCT) PlusBus, run by ECT Charity, allows older people to get out and about, enjoying day trips, shopping and catching up with friends.
Staying mobile is no mean feat when you reach 100 years old. But for Nora Chambers, one of MKCT’s most loyal customers, getting the PlusBus is part of her commitment to staying active and independent.
Nora is 102, a frequent passenger aboard MKCT’s buses in Milton Keynes and a “furiously independent” woman according to her daughter Valerie Allen.
Nora found out about MKCT’s PlusBus through a work colleague of her daughter almost 20 years ago and has been using the service ever since.
“Having the use of the PlusBus gets me out and about. I meet new people and have made some great friends over the years,” she says.
She adds that the MKCT staff are “very good, very helpful and really friendly. They honestly couldn’t do more for me – they have been absolutely marvellous”.
John Scott, a driver on the MKCT PlusBus, comments: “Nora is testimony to the notion that staying mobile keeps you young in body and spirit. I was transporting her home last week and she informed me that she plans to see the Welsh National Opera production of La Traviata at Milton Keynes theatre next year, a life long favourite of hers!”
From grocery shopping to day trips, getting the bus has been key to Nora’s determination to stay active and get out of the house.
“It makes a huge difference to my life and I get to go around Milton Keynes and visit places that I haven’t seen before,” she says.
Sharing her advice on how to live a long and happy life, Nora says: “Just keep going and stay as independent as possible for as long as you can!”
Daughter Valerie adds that her mother “definitely likes her independence. The PlusBus is the only opportunity she has to go out on her own without a member of the family following her around.”
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of MKCT, says: “These sorts of stories are fundamental to why we come to work every day and show why this kind of community transport is so essential. Nora’s story is a perfect example of how the work of ECT Charity benefits the individuals and communities it seeks to serve.”