VASA have extended their volunteer led community transport
We’ve extended our community transport services to medically related destinations to include those journeys for social inclusion.
People have asked us if that means they can book a voluntary driver to take them to the pub but that’s not quite the idea! We’re concerned about those older residents who are isolated and lonely in the district because they live in more rural areas or have no family members to drive them to appointments.
The work we have done in wheelchair loans and community transport have helped us gain a better insight into how social isolation affects people in the district. It’s common knowledge now that isolation can lead to the early onset of illnesses such as dementia, high blood pressure and diabetes. Those who care for a loved one are especially isolated as they are unable to leave the cared for at home unattended and so tend to put off going out, seeing friends and family. They start shopping online and rarely manage time on their own and often find themselves depressed.
Two thirds of British adults think they should do more
Recent shows that 75% of adults in the UK think they should do more to help people they know who are lonely. This research also tells us that most people like speaking to friends and neighbours face to face. To do this, lonely people need to be encouraged to get out. They are often lacking in self confidence and a little afraid too.
Community transport helps them get around safely with people that they know are driving them voluntarily and have been selected and interviewed, DBS checked and matched with a client to drive. They know that our drivers will wait for them up to two hours if they’re at a medical related appointment so they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to get home again. We work out the route and tell them upfront exactly what that journey will cost so that they are prepared and there are no nasty surprises.
Loneliness is an epidemic sweeping through the country and with a marginally larger older population in Stratford District than the other areas of Warwickshire, we are seeing more isolation that leads in turn to less wellbeing and independent living
Bus subsidy withdrawal doesn’t help
There are many areas without public transport and the withdrawal of bus subsidies in many counties have increased the incidence of isolation for older or disabled people. Loneliness isn’t just due to lack of transport though but by communities enabling social inclusion through community projects like voluntary transport, community activities and events and community based day care other counties have proven an increase in wellbeing and prolonged independent living.
As humans we need to connect with others and feel included on a daily basis, even if it is just a chat with a volunteer driver as they take you to a doctors appointment.
We did over 24 500 journeys last year and on review, we feel that isolation and loneliness formed a big part of the need for those journeys. That’s why we’ve decided to extend our service to include social inclusion journeys too!
If you know someone who needs a bit of help getting about or is rurally isolated, recommend us to them.