Community transport pilot wins award

Berwickshire Wheels is part of the Borders Community Transport hub
Berwickshire Wheels is part of the Borders Community Transport hub

The Borders one-stop shop that brought community transport operators under one roof has won a Scottish Transport Award.

Borders residents who are unable to use public transport and do not have their own vehicle have been able to ring one number and organise a lift to: hospital; dentist, health centre and clinic appointments; optician and podiatry appointments; social activities/groups; or to visit friends and relatives.

The service, with its hub at the Red Cross premises in Coldstream, started in October last year and last week it won the Accessibility Project of the Year accolade at the prestigious Scottish Transport Awards.

Scottish Borders Community Transport hub operators are able to identify and facilitate the most cost efficient means of making the journey, having access to a number of community transport providers operating throughout the Scottish Borders.

Organisations involved in the delivery of the project are Berwickshire Association for Voluntary Service (BAVS) and its Berwickshire Wheels transport service, the Bridge, British Red Cross, NHS Borders, Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and Scottish Borders Council.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads and infrastructure said: “I’d like to congratulate all the partners who are delighted and rightfully proud that their efforts have been recognised by the judging panel as a flagship project.”

Warwick Shaw, NHS Borders head of delivery support said: “We are delighted that the community transport hub has achieved this national recognition after all the imagination and hard work which has gone into realising the idea. This project is a great example of multiple partners working together for the best possible outcomes for a person centred approach.”

The project will now be eligible for the National Transport Awards in London in October.

The Scottish Borders Community Transport pilot project has funding for three years from Smarter Choice and The Integrated Care Fund.

Lindsay Wilson from Red Cross said: “In the past, users have had to call many different transport providers to find one that could meet their needs but now, because the hub will have a picture off all community transport availability in the Borders, getting the right transport at the right place and time is only one phone call away.

“This is a door to door service and the driver will even wait for up to two hours while appointments are in progress and take users home again afterwards.”

To book community transport call the freephone number - 0300 456 1985 - Monday to Friday.