Whitby & District Community Transport (previously known as Good Neighbours Community Transport) was launched in Whitby in 1996 to provide transport for elderly and disabled people and others in need who are unable to use other forms of transport to access essential services. The scheme covers an area of approximately 500 square mainly rural miles and helps people to overcome social and rural isolation in order to maintain an independent lifestyle. Whitby & District Community Transport is a not for profit Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee. We currently operate the largest volunteer car scheme in North Yorkshire and have been identified by NYCC as an example of the most efficient and best run scheme of its type in North Yorkshire.
Current WDCT Services
Volunteer Community Car Scheme
Whitby & District Community Transport operates a community car scheme using volunteer drivers from the local community. It currently provides an essential transport service for more than 850 Community Car Scheme members aged over 60, many of whom are registered disabled or has been referred to us by Social Services or other caring agencies, allowing them to maintain an independent lifestyle. We are also able to help other members of our community who are in need due to a lack of transport provision.
Many of WDCT’s passengers are frail and elderly with long term conditions which often means repeat / regular appointments at hospital. They find it far less stressful to be picked up at their door by a regular driver who stays with them whilst they are in the hospital, chats to them and can provide a reassuring presence at an often worrying time.
Typically our volunteers support older people to attend, Hospital and Doctors appointments, and other health related journeys such as Podiatry, Opticians, Dentists and Day Centres. In addition many of our members use the service to attend the Hairdressers, go shopping or simply to visit friends or relatives. This helps to promote positive mental well being, and provides opportunities for older people to socialise thus helping to tackle issues of social isolation and exclusion. Passengers who live alone are able to maintain their independence and not rely on family and friends.
Last year our volunteers carried out 10156 car passenger journeys. Our drivers covered in excess of 100,000 miles and provided support for more than 6000 elderly people. 69% of these journeys were to medical related destinations. We currently have 68 volunteers who give their time up to support their local community providing a vital service particularly to those most in need.
Compared to other Patient transport services community transport provides very important added value which often contributes to passengers keeping fit and healthy in their own homes. Volunteer drivers regularly transport patients to Scarborough and James Cook Hospitals but also further afield to Hospitals in Leeds, Sheffield, York and Hull. Volunteer transport is low cost, convenient and highly thought of by all the patients that have been transported. Volunteers provide reassurance and comfort to their patients. Passengers are collected when they want to be, taken straight to their appointments and if they wish the volunteer will show them into the hospital and wait with them.
Ring & Ride
Two years ago we launched a new Accessible MPV and ring & ride service in the town of Whitby, an exciting initiative which is greatly enhancing the service we can provide for elderly and vulnerable people in the Whitby urban and immediate surrounding areas. Again the service is being run using volunteer drivers. Using our MPV (multiple person vehicle) which is fully wheelchair accessible, it allows wheelchair users much greater freedom as they can now be picked up from their homes and taken to lots of different destinations round the town such as hospitals, surgeries, shopping and the local Day Centre’s. The service runs 5 days a week and as an added bonus is freeing up our volunteer car drivers to undertake longer journeys to medical appointments further afield.
Our services also include the provision of an accessible minibus which is available for any local community or voluntary group such as the Parkinson’s Society, The MS Club and the various sheltered housing groups. These are driven by volunteer drivers and provide a low cost alternative form of transportation as opposed to commercial operators. In addition we operate two NYCC contracted shopping services, one of which has been running for six years and collects passengers from various isolated villages in the Esk Valley giving people living in our most rural areas the opportunity to socialise and access shops and services which are neither accessible nor available to them locally.
Because our minibus is fully accessible we can offer transport to wheelchair users who cannot access public transport or other non-accessible vehicles. Again this service is helping to reduce both rural and social isolation amongst elderly people living in more rural areas.
In total last year Whitby & District Community Transport provided between its three core projects over 24,000 passenger journeys all driven by our dedicated team of volunteer drivers.