Voluntary Transport for the Disabled
Fri 8 Mar 2019
A Community Service in Difficulty
Two years ago last December a vital Community Transport Service run by Lichfield District Council ceased due to national and local government austerity cuts. The council could not afford to run the service for the community or maintain its fleet of vehicles to the required standard for passenger transport. They are now at a stage where another local transport charity is in danger of closing down not due to any financial concerns at present but because of a lack of interest from the local community.
Around fifty years ago two or three Lichfield organisations pooled resources and purchased an old ambulance bus to carry their members to and from meetings, for days out and occasional holiday trips, thus was born Lichfield Voluntary Transport. In 1973 in partnership with a similar group in Tamworth a charity was formed as Voluntary Transport for the Disabled. Over the years two more accessible vehicles were obtained. Today they have three modern automatic well maintained accessible 15 and 16 seat mini buses, but the organisation does not run itself.
Voluntary Transport for the Disabled is exactly what it says, run entirely by a few volunteers without any remuneration, other than expenses in carrying out the charity’s duties, be it either administering or driving for the charity. Like all community groups such as the Stroke Club, Arthritis Care, Darby and Joan and Live at Home schemes, they rely on volunteers most of who are in their seventies and a few in their eighties and nineties. Some people in the community expect the government or local authorities to fund these services, but without increasing taxes or local rates, which the majority of the population are against. This is not possible. As the population ages, the most vulnerable will suffer, and who is to say any of us are immune. Even if some of these community services survive, without affordable transport they have fewer members and they will be unable to support themselves.
To maintain their commitment to the community, V.T.D. is in need of expert help in administration, vehicle scheduling, general organisation, and of course Drivers with D1 licences. If help is not forthcoming in the next few months, the work of previous volunteers over the last forty plus years will have been to little or no avail. They are sure that there are people with the knowledge and expertise to assist by giving a few hours per week or per month.
As mentioned previously, the charity has a modern fleet and is at present financially sound. This is a chance for some able people of the district to give back to the community outside of politics and local government.
For any interested parties please contact their chairman Mr E Warren on 07771 740133, or Tony Harper, Transport Officer on 01543 686321.