Easilink Community Transport, along with the other Community Transport Partnerships will suffer as a result of the Department for Infrastructure decision that there will be no guaranteed funding for the Dial a Lift service after April 2023. There are also jobs at stake too – 22 members of staff at Easilink Community Transport.
Easilink service users, volunteers and staff are extremely concerned about how this will affect their lives.
Hear what Easilink Chief Executive, Claire Russell, service users, Helen Reany from Plumbridge and Evelyn O Hagan from Claudy, Volunteer Car Driver, Frank McCay and Charity Director, Paschal McKeown from Age NI had to say about the news on BBC Radio Foyle
The Department for Infrastructure, which funds the Rural Dial-a-Lift service, wrote to all Rural Community Transport providers on the 1st of March 2023, notifying us that there will be no guarantee of funding past the 30th of April 2023 due to the very challenging financial position which the Department finds itself in for 2023-24.
Today our Chief Executive, Claire Russell, spoke to BBC Radio Foyle to discuss the detrimental impact which any reduction in service would have to our members.
You can hear the interview on the link below which includes commentary from NICVA Chief Executive, Celine McStravick.
Easilink Community Transport Volunteer Car Drivers are going that extra mile to ensure that people in their local community get to health appointments and other essential trips.
Easilink Community Transport provide a door-to-door transport option for people in the Easilink Operational area (Omagh, Strabane and Rural L’Derry). The transport services are provided to promote independence and social inclusion, physical and mental wellbeing and to assist individuals who have no access to either public transport or private transport to access essential services such as health appointments, education, training, and employment.
Volunteer Car Drivers are playing a key role, alongside the paid Easilink minibus drivers to help ensure appointments are not missed because of transport issues. In the past year 2021/2022 alone, the volunteers have delivered an amazing 9000 passenger trips.
Claire Russell, Easilink CEO commented “Our volunteer car drivers are going that extra length to ensure that people in their local community get to health appointments and other essential trips. Without their support we would not be able to operate.
Easilink have just recently been re awarded the Investors in Volunteers UK quality standard. Passing this standard shows that we are committed and strive to ensure that volunteers have the best quality experience possible with us. The incredible contribution made by volunteers is not only appreciated, but valued in-line with this national standard, and beyond this measure. We are truly thankful and blessed by each individual volunteer and want them to know that they are integral to Easilink.”
Mona Rice, Easilink Volunteer Car Driver commented “I used to own my own business and when I retired, I needed something to get up for in the mornings. I wanted to give something back to the local community so started volunteering with Easilink. I have been volunteering with Easilink for over 20 years now. I find it extremely rewarding. I enjoy meeting new people and helping others; it is good for my mental health. I mostly do hospital runs and shopping runs.”
Easilink Community Transport are in the look out for more volunteers to be able to accommodate the massive increase in transport requests, mainly to local health appointments and hospital appointments throughout the Western Trust area. If you have a full clean driving license, access to your own car and free time to help your local community, then becoming an Easilink volunteer driver could be the perfect opportunity for you!
For further information visit the Easilink website www.easilink.org or contact Kerrie on 07702852582.