Local charity Community Connexions is today celebrating after being awarded £4808 in funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund to support its community transport work. The charity, based in Barnwood Point, Gloucester, will use the grant to increase their volunteer base.
Community Connexions has been running for over 30 years, offering door-to-door services for the elderly, people living with disabilities and anyone who is isolated by the lack of alternative transport options.
They rely on volunteers to help deliver their services, and currently have around 45 supporting them, motivated by the desire to help people who struggle with daily activities they themselves take for granted. They regularly tell us how much they benefit from meeting new people and new skills learned including first aid, manual handling, mental health awareness, and safeguarding.
The charity’s adapted accessible minibuses and volunteers’ own cars take beneficiaries to essential healthcare appointments, day centres, lunch and library clubs, social visits and shopping. This helps identify health concerns, tackles loneliness, mitigates social, financial and rural isolation - and the negative impacts these have on mental health, and promotes independence and inclusion. As many vulnerable people are not eligible for free NHS transport, helping them attend appointments, avoids cancellations or postponements, assisting the NHS and other providers.
The funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund, which supports new projects linking to the three elements of community wellbeing - people, places and environment - means the charity will be able to recruit further volunteers to help meet growing demand.
At the same time, the charity will be able to continue to provide transport to those who need it most.
Jade Gough, Community Fund Officer for Severn Trent, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Community Connexions which has provided a vital transport service to so many people in the last 30 years.
“We created our fund for local projects like this, where we can help make a real difference to our communities and the people who live in them.
“We hope our grant will help the charity recruit new volunteers who make such a difference to so many lives, including the elderly, the disabled and the isolated.”
Paul Riddick, CEO of Community Connexions, says: “We’re delighted that the Severn Trent Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We’re thankful to the Severn Trent Customer Panel for selecting us for funding so that we’ll be able to press on with our plans to extend our services by attracting more volunteers to service demand. Gloucestershire County Council projections show that the number of elderly people will increase by 66% over the next 20 years, and the number of people living with disabilities will also grow significantly. There is no doubt that demand for accessible transport for all will increase.”
Stuart Volunteer at Community Connexions says: “I volunteer at Community Connexions because I recognise the difficulty many elderly and disabled people in the area have in visiting agencies which provide vital support. A few hours each week undertaking this fulfilling activity represents a small contribution to an improvement in the quality of life for our customers”