Community Connexions is a community transport charity providing accessible and affordable transport to people who would otherwise be unable to access it due to physical or mental reasons, or rural or social isolation.
There is a team of volunteer drivers who use their own vehicles to take people where they need to go. The volunteers are all DBS checked and specially trained to work with people who are physically and mentally vulnerable.
Volunteers go above and beyond for their passengers, helping them carry their shopping, making sure they get safely back in their homes, and, maybe most importantly, they ask about their day. Sometimes our volunteer drivers are the only people they get to talk to that day. Being unable to access transport can leave people feeling isolated.
“I find every passenger I come into contact with is of interest. I learn so much from them and the extraordinary experiences that some folk have had.” – Nigel, Volunteer for 9 years.
“I really enjoy driving but more importantly, I get a great deal of satisfaction from the appreciation of the passengers, many of whom would otherwise be housebound.” – Roger, Volunteer for 8 years.
“I volunteer at Community Connexions because I recognize the difficulty many elderly and disabled people in the area have in visiting agencies which provide vital support.” – Stuart, Volunteer for 3 years.
Community Connexions also have a fleet of accessible buses which are sometimes sent when volunteers are unable to make the journey. The buses are available for hire and also do contracted routes for the council and schools, helping children with special educational needs.
Community Transport is a life line for many which we will show via our customer case studies below.
“If I didn’t have you, I’d be house bound” – Duds
Duds lives alone out in the countryside, “It’s right in the country where I live, Darlin’.” The nearest local amenity is the church and that’s one mile away. “I can’t walk to the church. My legs don’t have the fire they used to.”
Duds is 88 and almost entirely blind. She and her guide dog, Ben, regularly use Community Connexions to get out and about.
“Community Connexions has given me a new lease of life! If I didn’t have them, I’d have to stay home. There’s no other transport down here.”
Duds and Ben use Community Connexions to go to Tesco every Thursday for the food they need for the week. They use it when Ben has to visit the vets and when Duds needs to go to the hospital. Duds also uses the transport to visit her friends at the charity shops and to volunteer at a care home in a nearby town.
“The drivers are very kind to me. They look after me and they look after my dog. They always help me with his harness.”
Dud’s sisters live in Canada. “I phone them up on a Sunday and tell them all about Community Connexions so that they might be able to set something up like it where they live.”
“Without you, I wouldn’t be working” – Jenny S
Jenny S. uses Community Connexions to take her to work and back. She has been a member since 2014 and needs our transport to be able to keep working.
“I don’t walk very well. I use a walker. I struggle to get on a bus because of the steps and walking to the bus stop and back for work…I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Getting a taxi was not economically viable. “What I’d have to pay a taxi to take me to work and back both ways would cost more than only one way with you.”
“Sometimes you provide a bus and I have to use the lift at the back, and sometimes you provide a van and the drivers have to help me get into it.”
Without the help of our drivers and the volunteers at Community Connexions, Jenny would not have been able to keep working: “Without you, I wouldn’t be working”.
“You build up friendships with the people driving” – Reg
Reg volunteers on a charity helpline. He uses Community Connexions to get to his volunteering because he is blind. Without our service he would be unable to volunteer. “Getting a taxi would make getting to volunteering prohibitively expensive. Community Connexions is half the price of a taxi and that’s significant!”
As well as regular trips to his volunteer role, Reg takes Community Connexions to visit his daughter and granddaughter. “You build up friendships with the people driving. The drivers are such friendly people and easy to get on with. I was building my Granddaughter a wendy house and every time I took Community Connexions I would give the driver an update on its progress.”
People wanting to use Community Connexions book their travel through the transport office. “The girls on the switch are so, so helpful! Always obliging, always helpful.”
“It’s things like Community Connexions that make life worth living” – Yvonne L.
For Yvonne, keeping her independence is vital to keeping her will to live. “Having no transport cut down all the things I used to do. My neighbours offer to buy things for me but that takes away from my feelings of independence. It takes away my opportunity to change my mind when I get there, from one thing to another, or a different brand or item that I’ve not seen before. It sounds silly but it is so important to be able to change your mind on things. It gives you a sense of free will!”
Yvonne began using Community Connexions when she became too ill to drive. “I first used it to help me take my husband to the GP. Neither of us was in a fit state to walk.” Yvonne’s husband Albert died in 2013 and although she misses him every day, Community Connexions is one of the things that helps enables her to carry on.
“It’s things like Community Connexions that make life worth living. I don’t want to give up my independence. I don’t want to go into care. Without Community Connexions I couldn’t stay as independent.”
“Community Connexions take me to a special swimming club for people with arthritis. Being able to go to the exercise class means that I don’t have to take the pills anymore, I am doing something positive! I couldn’t take a commercial or public bus because I’m physically not capable of carrying the bags very far. I wouldn’t be able to make it to and from the bus stop safely.”
Community Connexions offer group trips for days out which Yvonne takes advantage of to visit places she used to go and to socialise with other people on the bus. “The people on the bus are very companionable. We went to Yate and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The driver was so kind. I really enjoyed being able to go out and look around the shops and cafes. We went to Gloucester too which meant I could look at the Cathedral and see the new shopping development at the Quays. It has changed so much since I was last able to go there. I also went to Cheltenham which is a place I hadn’t seen for so long. It was good to see the changes.”
Yvonne really appreciates the staff, “You’ve got brilliant drivers and super helpers. They recognise everyone’s difficulties and factor them in. They’re so lovely with everyone. The telephone staff are great too! They never make me feel like I am being a nuisance, even when I forget that I’ve already phoned them.”