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Types of services



Transport for Individuals

ECT Charity provides door-to-door journeys for people unable to use mainstream public transport due to mobility or other difficulties, or because ordinary public transport or other services have been withdrawn from their area.

People can use door-to-door transport for a wide variety of reasons, such as shopping, attending luncheon clubs or healthcare appointments, visiting friends and family, and going on organised day-trips to local attractions.

Increase in socially isolated older people

The UK’s population is steadily ageing. The latest projections are for 5.5 million more older people in 20 years’ time and that that number will have nearly doubled to around 19 million by 2050. Within this total, the number of very old people grows even faster: there are currently 3 million people aged over 80 and this is projected to almost double by 2030 and reach 8 million by 20501.

Many older people are vulnerable to social isolation due to loss of mobility, friends and family, and even income. “Social isolation” and “loneliness” are often used interchangeably, but it is important to note that they are not one and the same. “Loneliness” is subjective – an unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. On the other hand, “social isolation” is the objective absence or paucity of contacts and interactions between an older person and a social network.

Why is social isolation an important issue?

Researchers from University College London found that both social isolation and loneliness had a detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life and well-being. Further, they found that social isolation particularly, is associated with increased risk of health problems and mortality in older people. This negative impact on health leads to an increased demand from health and social care systems.

ECT Charity is able to address the needs of older people and other groups, as for many, mainstream public transport can be frightening or inaccessible.

How does ECT Charity help tackle the problem of social isolation?

In a time of extensive cuts in public spending and a growing population of socially isolated older people, ECT Charity’s door-to-door accessible transport service for individuals represents a major impact on society. By enabling older people to venture out of their homes to attend social events, go shopping and visit family and friends, ECT Charity helps reduce social isolation (and in turn, health problems and mortality). Not only does ECT Charity contribute directly to members of society, but it also alleviates the pressure on the health and social care systems.

Services for public bodies

ECT Charity works with local authorities, to provide services such as home-to-school, special educational needs transport, trips to and from day centres, local bus services, health and other door to door transport for older, disabled and isolated individuals.

These transport services provide a variety of solutions fulfilling statutory requirements and other social needs.

ECT Charity works to full cost recovery and surplus is reinvested into our charity objectives providing, transport in the community, especially for those individuals who have fallen in the gaps of statutory provision.

Obligation on commissioners to consider social value

The idea that businesses can create social and environmental returns alongside financial returns has been gathering increasing interest. This shift in thinking is exemplified by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 which came into force in January 2013 and obliges all public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.

Not only do we achieve social impact through our services for individuals and groups, but the vehicles remain in the community as an asset. When a Local Authority procures its home-to-school transport services (including for children with special educational needs), we ensure that we maximise the use of our vehicles by using them during the day for our individual door-to-door transport services (such as transporting socially isolated old people to and from luncheon clubs and healthcare appointments) and during the weekends for use by voluntary and community sector groups.

Cuts to commissioners’ budgets

Whilst the financial downturn catalysed the move towards social value commissioning, it has also meant that commissioners have suffered significant cuts to their budgets. As such, commissioners are under pressure to procure the required services but with fewer resources. Whereas some transport operators may choose to compromise on quality to lower their prices in order to secure a contract, we are firmly dedicated to maintaining our high quality and safety standards as a priority. We never compromise on that. Instead of taking a simplistic and reactionist approach to the changing climate, we have taken a holistic view and aim to work with commissioners to facilitate “integrated care” in the communities in which we serve.

An integrated healthcare system is one which puts the focus back on the patient with the aim to minimise fragmentation in patient services and instead provide efficient, coordinated and continuous care. ECT Charity and community transport play a crucial role in facilitating this transition.

Not only do we contribute to the NHS’s drive for an increasingly integrated approach to healthcare, we also contribute to deferring and reducing the need for healthcare of older people.

For instance, our door-to-door transport service can help an 80 year old lady maintain her independence by going to the shops and visiting friends. If it were not for our service, she would remain socially isolated at home which would contribute to the deterioration of her psychological and physical wellbeing. It is well known that socially isolated older people make far more calls to their GPs than those who lead a more socially active lifestyle.

Training services

Driver Training

All ECT Charity drivers have been trained to nationally-recognised and accredited MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) standard, which is administered by the Community Transport Association.

Our in-house Driver Assessor Trainers (DATs) provide both classroom-based theory training and an on-road driving assessment. Additional modules are available for drivers who will be transporting passengers with disabilities which include passenger assistance, disability awareness and the use of wheelchair accessible vehicles and equipment.

Please see our job opportunities here.

ECT Charity has a large pool of volunteer drivers who volunteer for our member groups and organisations. Volunteer drivers undertake the same MiDAS training. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about signing up to one of our training courses.

Passenger Assistant Training

We also offer the nationally-recognised Passenger Assistant Training Scheme (PATS) which provides professional training to people whose role it is to provide care and assistance to those passengers travelling by road. This is available to both volunteers and those working for other organisations as well as Passenger Assistants employed by ECT Charity.

Please see our job opportunities here.

Transport for groups

Our Group Transport service is available for voluntary and community organisations including charities, community groups and schools. We enable groups to book a minibus for their own use. You can travel anywhere in the UK, on any day of the week.

We can provide your group with a professional, uniformed driver who has received MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) and first aid training, and has been cleared by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), previously Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

Alternatively, your group can nominate a volunteer to drive instead (provided that the driver has received MiDAS training, either from the training courses we provide or from elsewhere).

For information about Group Transport near you, please click on the relevant area:

Ealing

Cheshire

Cornwall

Dorset

Types of Services

Transport for Groups

Transport for Individuals

Training services

Services for public bodies

 

Services by area

Ealing

Milton Keynes

Cheshire

Dorset

Ealing

Plus bus

London Dial-a-Ride

Sure Start PlusBus

Willow Tree PlusBus

Group services for non-profits

Training services

Home-to-school service

Local bus services

Cheshire

PlusBus

Group services for non-profits

Dorset

Home-to-school service

Local bus services

Group services for non-profits

Bus2Go

Training services

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Recent News


ECT Charity proud to play a role in the Invictus Games image
ECT Charity proud to play a role in the Invictus Games

Community transport provider ECT Charity (ECT) is celebrating the success of its accessible shuttle service, this time at the Invictus Games, which took place in London from 11-14 September.

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All aboard the surf bus! image
All aboard the surf bus!

For the duration of the summer, local community transport provider, Dorset Community Transport (DCT), worked with The Wave Project, an award-winning intervention in Dorset that uses surfing to help children and young people reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health.

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ECT Charity to provide accessible transport at Invictus Games image
ECT Charity to provide accessible transport at Invictus Games

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