A message from Cavus Batki (Chair of the Board) and Paul Riddick (CEO)
The demand for community transport has continued to increase this year, both in terms of the number of users (Members and the general public) and the number of journeys. We expect this to continue well into the future, with the county’s older population expected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.
Financially it has been a difficult year, with our funding declining in real terms together with the need to update our fleet. The latter is almost complete, with most of our fleet now being new vehicles. This is already providing benefits, with improved fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs (and better portraying our brand). This year we have also updated our I.T. system to ensure a more efficient service.
Transport is often the missing link in tackling loneliness, social and rural isolation
We have tried to grow our services to meet demand, but we are always behind the curve due to the lack of any capital injection. We are aware of gaps in service across the county and that is a challenge to a charity striving to serve the most vulnerable in our communities.
Community Connexions team
We would again like to thank every volunteer and member of staff for their efforts this year. The management team has put a great deal of effort into our primary strategic objective of recruiting more volunteers to help us meet demand. This drive has been successful and has entailed providing our volunteers with more support through our ‘champions’ project. This involves appointing a local volunteer champion in each district, not only to support their colleagues but also to become a link with local organisations. Initial feedback has been very positive, with volunteers saying they feel more engaged with our charity.
Update on judicial review for permits
This year has seen no resolution of the threat to change the regulations pertaining to the permits under which we operate. The issue has been referred to judicial review and that is unlikely to report until 2020. We can only speculate on the outcome which, potentially, could substantially change the way we work. Until then though we are working on the principle of business as usual. We have continued to enjoy the support of Gloucestershire County Council and our M.P., Alex Chalk, through this difficult period.