Community Transport NI Dominates Awards
Northern Irish Community Transport volunteers, operators and funded received acknowledgement as being the best in their field at the CTA awards dinner held 28th October 2008 as part of Access08 conference and exhibition in Manchester.
Winning Best Community Transport is Kieran McCann of Rural Lift for SW Fermanagh. Kieran volunteers his time and car to ensure transport is provided to rurally isolated individuals who can not access conventional modes of transport.
On receiving the Award Kieran thanked sponsor Hempsons for supporting volunteers through this award. “I am delighted to collect this award; not only for myself but also for all the people I help to transport. I enjoy helping people and I am so delighted that I can work with Rural Lift to provide transport for people who find it difficult to get out of the house. Thank you”.
Kellie Armstrong Director of CTA commented “Kieran is a dedicated volunteer who gives much of his time for no personal gain to help people get out and about in SW Fermanagh. Although in his 70s Kieran works non stop within his community. Kieran was nominated by those he works with for this award. From all the nominations received from across the UK Kieran was a clear winner.”
Anita Flanagan Manger of Rural Lift who works closely with Kieran said “Kieran is one in a million. No matter what the time or day he’s available to help someone in the community. The heart of Community Transport is our volunteers who provide transport to hospitals, to shops and so that rurally isolated people can get out of their house knowing they have a friend who can bring them back safely again. Well done Kieran”.
Another Fermanagh based organisation, FAST (Fermanagh and South Tyrone Community Transport) collect Best Rural Community Transport at the same awards ceremony. FAST were awarded the top prize because of the innovative ways they use to ensure transport needs are met in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone area. Bronagh Gormley, Project Officer with FAST said “FAST is delighted to be recognised for all out hard work. Meeting local transport needs is our priority. FAST works hard to ensure local people are involved in planning and delivery of rural transport solutions. Where someone can not use conventional transport or when public transport can not be accessed FAST is there”.
Kellie Armstrong of CTA commented “Rural Community Transport provides a lifeline to people across Northern Ireland. Recognition for FAST as the Best Rural Community Transport provider across the UK is testament to how their community based approach is the most appropriate way to solve transport needs. My warmest congratulations to Bronagh and the FAST team who have received acknowledgement for years of hard work”.
Often funding bodies provide the monetary support to enable the voluntary and community sector to provide much needed services in the community. This year the Department for Regional Developments Rural Transport Fund was recognised as the Best Local Authority / Public Transport Executive.
The award recognised commitment from local government to support the community provision of transport solutions. Brian Hogg of DRD accepted the award on behalf of his Department. “Thank you to all who nominated the Rural Transport Fund. The nominations submitted came from community organisations supported by the Department. There can be no greater accolade than to receive an award when those who know you best have nominated you”.
The DRD have for many years provided funding across rural areas to ensure any transport gaps were being met. This has included investments in local Rural Community Transport operations, the purchase of vehicles equipped with passengers lifts, high visibility railings and driver training to ensure transport is fully accessible for all and support for the management of the community sector ensuring all public monies are being spent with due diligence.
The CTA received a record number of applications and nominations for each of the Awards categories. Entrants for all categories demonstrated community transport provision is both professional and of an extremely high standard across the UK.
The Awards were judged by an independent panel using set criteria for both short listing and to decide the winners in each category. Mary O’Neill, one of the judging panel commented “The dynamism and unique service provided across the UK is of a very high standard making judging such awards extremely difficult”.
Of the seven awards categories Northern Ireland brought home 3. The success at the awards demonstrates how Northern Ireland is ahead of the rest of the UK. The professionalism and dedication of Community Transport often goes unrecognised in the transport sector. However without Community transport many older people and people with disabilities would not be able to access services and recreation others take for granted.
Community Transport provides over 500,000 passenger trips in Northern Ireland every year. These passengers are unable to access other forms of transport because of rural isolation, age, disability or poverty. Community Transport in Northern Ireland is committed to providing the right transport in the right vehicle at a time that suits the individual needs across Northern Ireland. Drivers are all trained to meet the passenger’s needs first. Customer care and consideration is our priority. Many drivers are volunteers as are the management committees who run community transport.
Do you need transport? Accessing Rural Community Transport services is easy. Call the following telephone number from a landline either in your home or from your community facility. You will be put in contact with your local Rural Community Transport provider in your area. If you are deaf and use type talk please prefix the number with 18001 before calling. Call 0845 650 1190
Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or see website www.communitytransport-ni.com for details of a community transport provider in your area.
Notes to editors:
Kieran McCann, Best Community Transport Volunteer
Bronagh Gormley collecting the Best Rural Community Transport for FAST
Brian Hogg of Department for Regional Development receives Best Local Authority / Public Transport Executive Award
The Community Transport Association (CTA) is a rapidly growing charity giving voice and providing leadership, learning and enterprise support to member organisations in the third sector that are delivering innovative and flexible transport solutions to achieve social change.
CTA promotes excellence through providing training, advice, publications, events and project support for voluntary, community and accessible transport. For further information visit our local web address www.communitytransport-ni.com or nationally www.ctauk.org.
Rural Community Transport is funded through the DRD Rural Transport Fund.
There are 20 Rural Community Transport Partnerships across Northern Ireland. All of whom are listed on the www.communitytransport-ni.com web site.
For further information call
Kellie Armstrong, Director for Northern Ireland
Tel: 028 9040 3535 or 07918 652136