WIN came about through a collaboration initially between Nairn and Ardersier Patients’ Group (NAPG) and In This Together, the Third Sector support organisation in Inverness-shire and Nairnshire. It is now a charity with its own independent board of trustees.
The incorporation of WIN as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in May 2018 is the culmination of more than three years’ effort by NAPG and significant numbers of local people in raising awareness of the benefits and challenges of implementing a community transport scheme.
Our project launched quietly at the beginning of November 2019 …..and stopped almost immediately, in March 2020, when lockdown was first announced. We have re-launched this November, providing a limited COVID-protected service. We remain a wholly volunteer run service.
We are funded by the Robertson Trust and Highland Council’s Ward Discretionary Fund and by the Council’s Community Transport Unit. As a result we plan to strengthen our team by employing a coordinator in the first quarter of 2021.
Between 2014 and 2016 we held a number of focus groups and also carried out a comprehensive public survey which yielded 339 respondents. It was recognised that current provision does not meet local needs due to the prescribed nature of delivery. These were our key findings:
- There are no affordable/accessible short notice solutions.
- Amongst patient groups, 40% had afternoon appointments when public services are less frequent.
- Rural locations such as Ardersier felt disproportionately affected by travel to appointments.
- 40% travelling from rural locations depended on means other than their own vehicles.
- 11% of respondents found the logistics of organising transport difficult, which when applied to the population of the area equates to between 1600 and 2500 people.
- Whilst family and friends were quoted as a valuable source of support, neighbours were seldom quoted as an option
- Although buses were the second most preferred means of getting around, they were also quoted as being the most problematic in practice.
- Significant numbers of people would like the flexibility offered by a Volunteer Community Car scheme and for a wide variety of purposes, including social, visiting venues, accessing services and accessing other transport links.