People living in Wellswood and neighbouring areas of Torquay now have access to a new door to door bus service.
Wellswood and Torwood Community Partnership has launched a personalised transport service which provides assistance for people with mobility issues.
The bookable minibus is designed with room for walkers and wheelchairs, with fully trained drivers and assistants who support people from their homes onto the bus and take them to local events or day trips.
John Rawson, Chairman of Wellswood and Torwood Community Partnership said: “We are so pleased to have received funding from Ageing Well Torbay for the project and thank all of our drivers and assistants for making this happen. What we hope to have is an ongoing transport service for years to come, so we hope everyone will enjoy using the bus and make good use of Wellswood Wheels. We are really looking forward to the project getting more and more successful so please spread the word so we can support as many people as possible.”
Residents are able to ring and book the bus for the price of £3 return for a local trip, and varying prices for the day trips. As well as regular trips to coffee mornings, gentle exercise, skittles, a writers group and the Willows, day trips have been planned for Dartmouth and Powderham Castle, in addition to local trips to the cinema, theatre and concerts. The bus also takes people to memory cafés.
Sue McDermott, Ageing Well Torbay Programme Manager, said: “We really recognised the need to remove barriers to social inclusion and saw such potential in Wellswood Wheels. Its transport service is not only affordable, but includes a door to door service – something we recognise is really needed.
“Ageing Well Torbay launched the Innovation Fund last year with the aim to increase opportunities for people in later life living in Torbay. As part of the Fund, eight projects were chosen by a panel of over 50s, who allocated funding of just under £20,000 to Wellswood Wheels.”
Wellswood Wheels Passenger Douglas Eades 91, said: “Thank you so very, very much for such a great service on the community bus. I went on Monday’s Day Trip to Widdecombe and it was so interesting being driven through Torquay and observing all the changes that had taken place along the roads/route the bus took.
“The bus is fully equipped, it has a handrail which is jolly useful for someone like me and the bus has a lift at the rear so I use that, and the young chap in particular is a great help. The trips are so good and I would score them 20 out of 10 if I could! It really is a brilliant service and I am so thankful.”
Ageing Well Torbay is part of the National Lottery funded Ageing Better programme set up by the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. Ageing Better aims to develop creative ways for older people to be actively involved in their local communities, helping to combat social isolation and loneliness.
Ageing Better is one of five major programmes set up by the Big Lottery Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier.
To book onto a Wellswood Wheels trip, residents just need to call 01803 212638 and ask for Wellswood Wheels, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.