Community transport can save public services across the UK up to £ 1.1 billion a year , concludes a new report from ECT Charity, one of the leaders of community transport in the UK.
ECT Charity is a leading charity in the UK which provides high quality, safe, friendly, accessible and affordable transport in local communities to thousands of individuals and groups who have difficulty using local transport, enabling them to lead active, independent lives.
Community transport is a general term which can be applied to a very wide range of different transport services, targeted at people with disabilities, socially deprived and geographically isolated people, as well as at community and voluntary groups.
Bill Freeman, CEO of the Community Transport Association, said: “Community transport, in all its forms, has the potential to offer a more reliable and resilient way of addressing a growing number of transport needs and contributing to areas of public policy where access and inclusion are significant challenges. It is vital that the sector can demonstrate the quality of its services, but also that they add value, so there is something that is a broader benefit beyond the simple fulfilment of the contract.”
The report, titled Why Community Transport Matters, includes two studies aimed at helping community transport organisations in the UK better demonstrate the social impact of the services they provide.
Anna Whitty, CEO of ECT Charity, said: “The next few years are going to be tough for the UK as budgets for public services continue to be cut. It is time to look at things in a different way and community transport is an important – but often invisible – part of the solution.
The first study, carried out by ECT Charity in collaboration with Deloitte, exhaustively researches the economic costs of loneliness and isolation, and the role that community transport can play in reducing them.
According to the report one third of older people in the UK (where around 14 million people are over 60) and half of over-80s say they are sometimes lonely.
“Loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety and mental decline, as well as increased levels of drinking and smoking’, the report explains.
Consequently, lonely and isolated people, as well as their families, need more support from health and social care services.
These effects cost the UK about £2.1billion a year, as estimated by ETC Charity and Deloitte.
The second study, realised with the London Strategic Community Transport Forum (LSCTF), "will help community transport organisations make a compelling case to commissioners on the value of their services".
The report concludes that community transport can create savings from 0.4 to £ 1.1 billion a year to taxpayers, and at the same time reduce pressure on public services, helping older people to remain active members of society.
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