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.”