Community transport scheme aims to combat loneliness
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 June 2019
Trips to the supermarket and the seaside are part of a plan to combat loneliness among vulnerable people in the borough.
Newham Community Transport Services (NCTS), which provides coach outings for older and disabled people who are unable to get out and about independently, is aiming to expand the services it offers.
"We're hoping to run a door to store service, which we're going to pilot in south Canning Town later this year," said Jackie Mattock, who helps to run the scheme.
"It will take them from their home to Tesco at Gallions Reach or Sainsbury's at Beckton.
"They will be left to do their shopping for an hour, then collected and taken back home."
She said that the scheme would likely run on one day a week and if the Canning Town pilot is successful, it could be rolled out across the borough.
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Other initiatives to be run by the scheme include regular day trips, with summer locations including Whitstable, Southend and Canterbury, and a festive trip to see the Christmas lights.
"Last year we went to see a show at Westcliff for Christmas to see a show," Jackie added.
NCTS also runs a Sunday lunch club, which will see people collected from their homes and brought to enjoy a community lunch before being driven back again afterwards.
Membership costs just £2 with a small amount charged for each trip to cover the cost of petrol.
The scheme is non-profit and while it currently uses a minibus borrowed from nearby Waltham Forest, it hopes to have its own specially adapted vehicle soon so that it can make even more journeys.
It's not just elderly and disabled people that will benefit from the minibus, either - schools and community groups are able to hire it.
Training is also provided for staff who regularly use minibuses to become passenger assistants, allowing them to better support young people.
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