SPT’s exemplar work in community transport recognised
SPT’s work in Community Transport Public Social Partnership (PSP) has been recognised with a Scottish Social Enterprise Award at an event held in the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Social Enterprise Awards are Scotland’s annual awards which recognise innovation and success in social enterprise. It is an opportunity to showcase how social enterprises are improving Scotland’s economy and society.
SPT won the ‘Buy Social’ – Market Builder 2015 Award acknowledging the partnership working, through the PSP model, between SPT and the community transport sector, specifically the support SPT has provided to the sector in helping it to grow and develop.
Collecting the award from Deputy First Minister John Swinney on behalf of SPT were Transport Development Officer Graham Dunn and PSP Project
Co-ordinator Robert Mackenzie.
Graham said: “This award is a testament to the support SPT is providing to the Community Transport Sector, the partnership working between SPT and the sector and that the PSP model can support co-planning of service design
“Thanks must go to Robert MacKenzie for all his hard work and assistance in driving forward the PSP.”
Nominated for the award by Ready for Business, SPT were praised for its clear evidence of commitment to partnership and co-planning of service design; articulation of the steps taken to improve the community transport infrastructure; overcoming significant cultural and organisational challenges; and evidence of improved commitment to developing social enterprise as a business model.
We are delighted to announce that SPT has received a nomination for this year’s Social Enterprise Awards (SEA’s).
The nomination is in respect of SPT’s Community Transport Public Social Partnership (CT PSP), which launched last year.
SPT PSP Project Co-ordinator Robert MacKenzie said:
“By working closely with CT providers, SPT representatives are able to exchange knowledge and consult on best practice and the CT PSP offers the forum to do just that.
“I’m eager to see the CT PSP works continue to grow from strength to strength and an award nomination of this nature is a great boost – definitely a step in the right direction.”
There are a total of 11 National categories in the SEA’s this year and these are open to social enterprises, including specific awards that investors, corporates, public sector bodies and charities may also apply for.
SPT has been nominated in the ‘Buy Social’ – Market Builder Award. Successful candidates in this category must be a social enterprise, public sector body or private sector organisation that has demonstrably made efforts within its own organisation and remit to create more opportunities to buy from social enterprises.
The CT PSP has been met with hugely positive reaction from operators, organisations and volunteers alike. As the demand for CT continues to grow, as does the need for the sector to become more robust and resilient.
Winners are announced in November – watch this space.
Community groups are being urged to really go places by accessing support services offered by transport schemes in East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) area.
East Dunbartonshire Community Transport (EDCT), funded by SPT with support from EDC, provides low-cost, accessible minibuses for hire to non-profit-making groups.
Councillor Alan Moir, SPT elected member for EDC, is urging community groups and interested locals to find out more:
“EDCT provides a range of valuable transport services in East Dunbartonshire – helping to keep non-profit community and voluntary groups moving.
“As an authority we are delighted to support EDCT and hope as many people as possible benefit as a result. Ensuring people have opportunities to get out and about – reducing isolation, improving inclusion and also helping the local economy – are all priorities.”
EDCT is managed by Community Transport Glasgow (CTG), which as well as low-cost minibuses for hire, also offers training and garage services.
In addition, EDCT provides an over-60s weekly shopping trip service – operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-1pm. People can be picked up from their home and taken to Tesco in Milngavie (Tuesday) or Asda Robroyston (Thursday). The cost is £3.
Meanwhile, a new hi-tech aid has been launched to help people use public transport to get to hospitals in the west of Scotland.
SPT has provided £10,000 towards the latest version of the Traveline Scotland app, which features an easy-to-use, dedicated ‘Travel to Hospitals’ section.
The free app, which currently has over 550,000 downloads, now offers instant information on transport links available to hospitals across Scotland – including the New South Glasgow University Hospitals.
Advice is available on a range of services, including rail links from Milngavie.
For more information on services provided by EDCT call 0845 605 5955, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.ctglasgow.org.uk
Visit www.travelinescotland.com for more information or to download the new app. Alternatively, you can call 0871 200 22 33.
SPT is continuing to push forward with pioneering community transport (CT) work as the first official meeting of the Public Social Partnership (PSP) took place last Wednesday, 28 May.
The PSP is made up SPT representatives, CT providers and other interested parties, who are all now working closely together to improve the provision and delivery of demand responsive transport (DRT) throughout the region and to build the capacity of the CT sector.
Backed by the Scottish Government, the PSP is working towards piloting innovative DRT solutions for local communities by working closely with those that have the relevant skill and expertise.
Last week’s meeting signifies the official start of the vital work that the PSP aims to provide, although the project itself officially launched in January 2014.
Robert MacKenzie, PSP Project Co-ordinator said:
“The need for CT has rocketed recently due to increasing demand as well as the continually challenging financial climate, one example of this is the big increase in demand for SPT’s MyBus service in recent years.
“By designing, trialling and testing innovative pilot DRT services before they are tendered and by growing the CT sector we hope to help bridge the demand gap and assist the CT providers to participate in service delivery as much as possible.”
Following four wins at last year’s annual Scottish Transport Awards (STA), SPT has been nominated again this year in seven categories.
The STA’s look to identify excellence, innovation and progress within the industry and the work of SPT is regularly recognised at the prestigious event.
SPT Chief Executive Gordon Maclennan said:
“SPT works hard to deliver the best service possible to our passengers – this is our priority first and foremost. However, it is of course a fantastic added extra to gain industry recognition in the form of the STA’s.
“What I find extremely encouraging is the variation of category in which we’re nominated – Excellence in Technology and Innovation, Public Transport Operator of the Year and Excellence in Travel Marketing, to name just three.
“This spread demonstrates that we’re consistently performing to a high standard across the board. As Scotland’s largest Transport Partnership that’s exactly as it should be and I’m delighted.”
SPT is nominated in the following categories:
Scottish Local Transport Authority of the Year – SPT
Integrated Transport Project of the Year – Dalmarnock station
Achievements in Cycling – ‘Power to the Pedal – A Cycling Revolution in Strathclyde’
Public Transport Operator of the Year – SPT Subway
Excellence in Technology and Innovation – Smartcard
Transport Team / Partnership of the Year – WoS Community Transport Network
Excellence in Travel Info / Marketing – ‘Get Smart’ Subway Smartcard
Organisations that provide everything from employment to healthcare advice have received SPT funding totalling £146,843.
No less than seven community transport-based projects were given the crucial financial support to carry on with their valuable and, often, life-changing work. The funding increases accessibility to social, recreational and other community activities through the provision of transport.
SPT Vice Chair Denis McKenna said:
“We run the Glasgow Subway, manage a raft of bus contracts, look after several bus stations but in addition to all of that, SPT supports several local initiatives that enrich the lives of many people throughout Strathclyde.
“These type of projects offer services and opportunities that are not otherwise available, for example transport to GP appointments for the elderly and skills development for the unemployed.”
Access to Employment Ayr, Coalfield Community Transport, Community Transport Glasgow, Getting Better Together, North Area Transport Association, The Rural Development Trust Ltd and Retired & Senior Volunteer Programme were awarded funding between 1 July 2013 and 31 January 2014.
Councillor McKenna continued:
“Without these schemes, many people would be utterly lost. Simple things like having the chance for regular social interaction can make all the difference to a person’s overall quality of life.
“I’m delighted that SPT understands the value and recognises the importance of community transport projects and I hope that this will continue long into the future.”
Access to Employment Ayr provides support to local unemployed residents to gain and retain employment opportunities. The organisation received £10,560 towards its community transport project in the Kyle area of South Ayrshire. 5,560 journeys have been made since November 2012.
Coalfield Community Transport provides affordable and accessible transport to local community and voluntary groups in East Ayrshire. Funding of £35,397 was granted in respect of Coalfield’s Skares & Sinclairston community transport links and demand responsive transport service for Cumnock and the surrounding area.
Community Transport Glasgow supports and promotes the delivery of high-quality, accessible and reliable transport for communities in Glasgow and the surrounding area. £23,166 grant funding was awarded for its community transport scheme in Drumchapel.
Getting Better Together is a community centred health initiative that promotes health and wellbeing to local residents in Shotts and the surrounding area. Funding of £6,778 was awarded in respect of its transport link to the Airdrie at Home Centre for local young people.
North Area Transport Association (NATA) aims to serve socially excluded groups in North Glasgow by providing accessible affordable community transport to effectively link with local service providers. £26,943.80 was awarded for the extension of two pilot community transport schemes (Townhead and Sighthill/Trongate).
RSVP (The Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme) based in East Renfrewshire operates a volunteer car scheme to provide transport for patients to access GP, clinic and hospital appointments through a referral process. In 2012/13 2,852 patients were transported. RSVP was awarded £14,000 to maintain its activities.
The Rural Development Trust Ltd (RDT) provides community transport services to more than 350 community groups within South Lanarkshire, mainly taking community groups on trips and outings. £30,000 was awarded to RDT to continue this work.
SPT’s Operations Committee recently approved match funding of £60,000, in addition to a £119,329 Scottish Government grant, meaning that the organisation’s vital Community Transport work can progress at pace.
The funding will create jobs in the community transport sector, as well as training opportunities for volunteer drivers by way of a Volunteer Training Programme. Without qualified volunteers the community transport sector would be under severe threat and this innovative programme will focus on providing training opportunities to those who are long-term unemployed, looking for a career change, returning to the workplace or young people looking to learn new skills.
SPT Vice Chair Denis McKenna said:
“I’m delighted that funding has been confirmed so that the great work this project promises to deliver can push on.
“Public sector budgets are reducing and the commercial bus market is rapidly shrinking so local communities are relying on the community transport sector now more than ever to access employment, healthcare and other essential services.
“It is also great to see the funding being used to tackle a number of social and economic issues. It will not only help bolster the third sector and address transport problems but it will also give people new skills and create jobs, creating even more value for the wider community.”
The funding will also enable SPT to further develop its Community Transport Public Social Partnership, which involves public bodies working closely with third sector organisations in the design of demand responsive transport models than can be developed, trialled and ultimately delivered.
SPT’s demand responsive MyBus service, which caters to thousands of passengers unable to make use of public transport, is a key feature of the project. The service has become a lifeline for many local communities and, as such, the Community Transport sector is ideally placed to work alongside SPT to assist in the design and delivery of this service.
The creation of a new partnership to enhance and co-ordinate community transport in the West of Scotland is “one of the most significant events in the history of transport in Scotland”, Traffic Commissioner Joan Aitken has said.
The West of Scotland Community Transport Network will see Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) work with stakeholders in the community transport sector at regional and national level to monitor, evaluate and improve vital services delivered to commuters across the West of Scotland.
Speaking at the launch of the Network in Glasgow today – which was attended by representatives from more than 40 organisations, including community transport operators, voluntary and community groups and statutory bodies – Ms Aitken said:
“SPT is one of the best Regional Transport Partnerships in Britain and a force for good.
“The creation of this network is one of the most significant events in the history of community transport in Scotland. SPT is using its considerable resources to support this new Community Transport Network, which will give me as Traffic Commissioner the assurance I need that quality community services will be delivered and that passengers will be safe.
“As the use of community transport grows, I want to make sure that it is properly supported, and this network and the work of SPT is a very positive contribution.”
SPT Vice Chair Denis McKenna, who chaired the launch, added:
“Community transport projects are set to play an increasingly important role in the transport mix for local communities.
“While SPT is committed to providing socially necessary transport, the hard truth is that we are simply not in a position to afford to plug all the gaps left by the withdrawal of commercial operators, and we want to work in partnership to develop innovative solutions to meeting some of these gaps.
“This network will allow SPT to work with community transport providers to co-ordinate, enhance and better utilise our resources to ensure the West of Scotland has a Community Transport Sector that is fit for purpose and can rise to the challenges and opportunities it faces in the future.”