In 2010 we were named as one of eight community transport operators working in rural locations chosen to receive a grant to employ a business development manager, as well as a loan and substantial in-kind support to enable us to diversify and take on new contracts.
Successful services we currently operate:
Home to School Transport
Our specially trained drivers and escorts ensure that almost 40 children with special educational needs, including six who use wheelchairs, get to school on time and return home safely each evening.
As many of the young people we transport have complex behavioural and physical support needs, our drivers and passenger escorts have received special high level training to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of the young people in their care.
Our staff are flexible, work in partnership with commissioners, families and schools to accommodate changing needs and circumstances. A typical example being that of one child needing to use a wheelchair for the first time whose needs were provided for at extremely short notice. This involved undertaking a detailed risk assessment before assigning a wheelchair accessible vehicle for the journey.
Community Bus Services
Third Sector Services operates the highly successful “V” service in Cheltenham. The service has seen passenger figures rocket since the route was launched in June 2010. Now almost 1,000 people use the service each month to get to Cheltenham General Hospital, to a local supermarket and into the town centre. In a recent passenger survey one response said passengers called it “the happy bus”. The success of the service has been acknowledged by the Department for Transport as an exemplar of national good practice.
This area of our work is likely to increase following Gloucestershire County Council’s Bus Network Review which highlights community transport as a flexible transport alternative to get people to essential services.
Day Care Transport
We also operate transport services under contract to Gloucestershire County Council for a number of Day Care Centres throughout Gloucestershire. These contracts are supported by our highly experienced paid drivers who have significant expertise in managing the needs of older and vulnerable adults.
We recognise that those using such services have complex needs ranging from acute dementia to physical disabilities. As such, our dedicated team recognises the importance of developing a special rapport with our passengers, as for many of them, this is their sole social contact during the course of a week, linking home with day care providers and luncheon clubs.
We transport around 1,000 people every week using a variety of vehicles from mini-buses, wheelchair accessible people carriers and private vehicles of our volunteer car drivers.