Dorset Community Transport (DCT) is delighted to announce that it has been shortlisted for this year’s Community Transport Awards for its crucial work towards ending rural isolation for local people.
Organised by the Community Transport Association, the awards celebrate excellence in the community transport sector across the UK and highlight those who have gone above and beyond for their local communities.
This year, DCT joins just two other organisations – Fellrunner Village Bus, and Llanwrtyd Wells Community Transport – as a finalist in the ‘Serving Rural Communities’ category, which highlights organisations “doing excellent work to enable people living in rural communities to access services that they may otherwise be denied”. The winner will be announced on 12 November at a Community Transport Awards dinner.
DCT’s submission highlighted its work in keeping local bus services 97 and 88 – which are primarily used by elderly people who have no other means of travelling to market towns – up and running following council funding cuts.
DCT gave the example of 73-year-old passenger Mary Head, who is totally reliant on DCT’s “little green bus”. She says, “Where I live is very isolated, and when I found out that the council was cutting my usual route I was mortified. It actually made me feel really depressed.
“For someone living alone, who is perhaps not able to walk very well and has not got family around, you need to be able to get out and have something to look forward to.”
DCT provided further examples of how they help people in rural communities: from helping those with mobility difficulties travel to vital health appointments, to enabling pupils at rural schools to experience enriching extra-curricular activities and trips that would otherwise not have been possible.
For instance, thanks to DCT, pupils at Cerne Abbas CE VC First School and Spetisbury CE Primary School now attend swimming lessons, choir practices, science activities and more.
Tim Christian, general manager at DCT, said: “Many Dorset villages are not served by any buses whatsoever, and often residents have no access to basic amenities.
“At DCT, we have been working hard since 2011 to offer people – particularly those who are vulnerable or socially isolated – a means of getting out and staying connected to their community. I’m very proud that our work has been recognised in the shortlist for a national award, and particularly in the ‘Serving Rural Communities’ category, because that is exactly what we do.”