National Lottery funding boost for Exmouth community transport charity

PUBLISHED: 17:09 20 October 2020

The buses of Exmouth and District Community Transport Group are back providing trips following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Exmouth and District Community Transport Group

The buses of Exmouth and District Community Transport Group are back providing trips following the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Exmouth and District Community Transport Group

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A lifeline service for isolated elderly and vulnerable residents has been boosted by funding from the National Lottery.

Exmouth and District Community Transport has been successful in its bid to the National Lottery for a grant of £30,000 which will be spent on offering residents trips to go to lunch at local hostelries.

The charity aims to prevent social isolation for residents who are unable to go out and socialise or do their own shopping.

Due to social distancing guidelines, passenger numbers on the charity’s large bus has been reduced from 15 to five and from eight to three in the smaller bus; both buses are cleaned and drivers wear protective clothing.

Some passengers are in a ‘bubble’ and the charity makes sure there are only six per table, which is booked in advance, in the restaurant/cafe.

Jill Elson, chairman of Exmouth and District Community Transport said: “We have taken a number of our regular passengers on local lunches (as a pilot) and asked them what they feel they would like us to provide in these difficult times.

“We have done a few lunch trips to local restaurants, pubs etc.

“The response was excellent and our passengers really appreciated having a meal with others instead of having a meal in their home alone.

“They found it very uplifting to be able to chat to others over a meal.”

The charity is still providing its regular trips for passengers to do their own shopping and sometimes this is combined with a lunch afterwards before they go home.

Miss Elson thanked Devon County Council for making their grant this year ‘more flexible’ and East Devon District Council for its annual grant of £5,000 as well as all the town and parish council’s which have contributed.

She added: “We are like many other charities and businesses working in very difficult times and without the support of our community would not be celebrating our 30th birthday in November.

“We wish to help people who have a mobility problem to go out and meet others. Mental health is very difficult when you are isolated with perhaps just a phone call now and again.”


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