Support and backing from community will help keep community transport charity afloat

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 January 2018

Passengers on the Weston and District Community Transport. Picture: Paul Amey

Passengers on the Weston and District Community Transport. Picture: Paul Amey

Archant

A Weston-super-Mare charity which helps vulnerable and less-able people get around is in desperate need of more money and volunteers to continue its service.

A Weston and District Community Transport. Picture: Paul AmeyA Weston and District Community Transport. Picture: Paul Amey

Weston and District Community Transport (WDCT) provides transport to the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged residents of Weston, giving them the independence and freedom to enjoy all the town has to offer – in many cases, proving the only way these people can get around the town.

The not-for-profit organisation is reliant on its support from North Somerset Council and donations in order to offer its services to clients.

WDCT, which has made it to the final of the Weston Business Awards for the Making A Difference category, merged with another charity, Dial-a-Ride, in 2004 under the watchful eye of Vic Ryland.

Manager Paul Amey said: “2018 will be our 14th year under the current format, with Vic and his wife Joan, along with other trustees, giving up their time voluntarily to ensure this important and essential service in Weston has continued to operate effectively.”

WDCT staff with passengers. Picture: Paul AmeyWDCT staff with passengers. Picture: Paul Amey

However, if the charity’s vital work is to continue, more volunteer drivers and donations are needed.

Mr Amey said: “Without our drivers the organisation could not operate. A good number have been with the organisation for a number of years and are completely committed and extremely passionate about what they do, identifying WDCT as an essential and unique service to the community.”

The charity is made up of a small number of full-time and part-time employees but mainly runs on the work of the volunteers.

DIAL-A-RIDE

The Dial-a-Ride charity still operates under the WDCT banner, offering passengers a door-to-door service for medical appointments, shopping trips and family visits.

Passengers pay an annual membership fee of £12 and then £4 per journey.

On average, its drivers carry out six routes a day and 800 Dial-a-Ride journeys a month, with more than 400 people using it.

Mr Amey said: “Although we charge a membership and transportation, the service is not commercially viable as it is exceptionally expensive to run.

“The service is unique and completely necessary but could not be maintained without essential funding, hence our charity status and the need for continual and increased funding.”

The charity also offers day trips to Cheddar, Cadbury Garden Centre, Minehead, Exmouth and Longleat and Cotswold Wildlife Park.

It is not limited to the older generation either; WDCT provides transport to schools and nursing homes which do not have access to a minibus, or has teachers who have passed the required driving course, the Mini-Bus Driver Awareness Scheme.

WESTON WHEELS

This additional amenity was set up by Vic and Joan in 2013 as a way for their passengers to get to medical appointments in Taunton and Bristol without paying expensive taxi fares.

Mr Amey said: “Weston Wheels is a wholly volunteer-based organisation operating every weekday.

“An increasing number of appointments are now arranged outside of Weston and many elderly passengers need transport, it is not viable to use a minibus for a one-to-one so this overcame the need with car-based transport.”

Fourteen volunteer drivers give up their time to take people to and from their appointments – charging 45p a mile. The drivers carry out an average of 75 journeys a month.

More drivers are desperately needed to help the charity cope with rising demand, and donations are vital to its future. To become a WDCT driver, contact 01934 611956.

More from Weston Mercury

The man behind one of Weston’s most iconic sights – the town’s beach donkeys – has died aged 91.

Read more

A swimming pool could be built on the outskirts of Weston as part of a proposed 320-caravan holiday park.

Read more
09:00

A drug and alcohol charity has revealed a number of warning signs to look out for if you are worried a loved one is drinking too much.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare
11:00

A Weston-super-Mare couple have toasted their diamond wedding anniversary, celebrating 60 years together.

Read more

Around 1,100 people attended a party in the park in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more

A Weston-super-Mare woman fears for the safety of her ‘daughter and all members of their community’ following a rise in antisocial behaviour incidents.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:00

Hundreds of people who attended an open garden event run by a Weston manufacturing firm have helped to raise in excess of £2,000 for Weston Hospicecare.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 18:42

A devoted granddaughter is taking part in a skydive to raise money for Weston Hospicecare which cared for her ‘heroic Pops’.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:25

An Irish poet and playwright will showcase his work in the South West.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

A funding agreement for a food and drink innovation centre in Weston-super-Mare has been confirmed.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 17°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists