September 9, 2015
For whatever reason, communities don’t readily collaborate with one another. They network, they share ideas and learn from each other but on the whole there aren’t many examples of community groups working together and pooling their resources to deliver some kind of new service or facility. As resources become scarcer, it would make sense for communities to at least consider the potential for greater collaboration. It won’t be easy but the benefits can be considerable as these community transport collaborators from the Scottish Borders are discovering.
The first step in improving travel for Borders residents without regular access to a vehicle is about to go live – a one stop shop.
Four community transport providers are joining forces to provide a joined-up affordable transport network. There is only one central number for customers to ring which means that journeys can be co-ordinated – 0300 456 1985.
BAVS (Berwickshire Association of Voluntary Service). British Red Cross, The Bridge and Royal Voluntary Service are all on board with the new community transport service and it should be up and running within the next month.
The Borders Strategic Transport Board has been set up to gather together all the evidence of transport issues experienced by the young, old and everyone inbetween and then start looking at how to resolve some of them.
Starting in Berwickshire the board held the first of two local meetings in Duns last week, chaired by Helen Forsyth, chair of the Borders Strategic Transport Board and chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association.
“We managed to get a few keen and active people who talk about the challenges of living in rural Berwickshire,” said Helen.
“ It was a small event but lively. What was most powerful was that both young, old, and in between all felt able to talk and give their ideas and views.
“The board is made up of lots of agencies that are concerned with passenger transport and want to make it better and more effective. We heard from the real experts – the people of Berwickshire.
“We began to think of exciting ways we could use technology to enable a whole range of people to get where they need to go. Now some of the people there will be getting together to see if they can work up some new ideas and projects.
“The next event is in Eyemouth at the High School on October 5, and we welcome anyone local to come and think aloud with us about how we create more transport opportunities in the Borders.”