Click here to read the roundup of the morning sessions for the CTA Cardiff Conference which looks at speakers including Marie Brousseu-Navarro who discussed how community transport can play a role in the Future Generations (Wales) Act.
The afternoon saw a session focusing on ‘Social Value, Future Impact’ the theme of the conference. This was opened by CTA Chief Executive Bill Freeman who discussed how community transport can appeal both to the heart and the head; it provides enormous social value but investment in community transport services can also lead to significant economic benefits and savings for the public purse.
The afternoon’s first speaker Anna Whitty MBE, CEO of ECT Charity discussed why it’s important to demonstrate the value and impact of community transport. Anna discussed a recent report by ECT Charity which looks at how we can demonstrate the economic and social benefit of community transport. The report starts by looking at the economic impact that CT can have through combating loneliness and social isolation. Through alleviating the symptoms that cause loneliness and social isolation in older people, and therefore the resulting costs to the health service, the report demonstrates that investing in community transport could save over £1 billion per year. The report also looks at how community transport operators can use newly devised social metrics to prove its value to potential funders and commissioners. You can read more details of these in the report itself. Anna also showed a video explaining the reasons behind putting together the report, which you can watch here.
Following Anna was Tim Lamerton from Devon Access to Services Project who discussed the economic impacts of community car schemes in Devon. He discussed the benefits of a forum through which 43 car schemes provide statistics which are used to measure the overall economic value of car schemes in Devon and to show funders how investing in these schemes can make significant savings. Their findings showed that car schemes in Devon could save Primary Care Trusts around £2.5 million. These savings come from aspects such as more people using car schemes to access hospital appointments which means that the likelihood of being admitted to hospital in the future due to missed appointments is limited. As such, Tim said, to spend a little is to save a lot.
Rounding off this session was Carl Gough, Senior Development Officer at the CTA who introduced a new initiative called the Community Transport Census. This proposes to look more deeply at what we can measure to demonstrate the value of Community Transport and how we can measure it. He discussed how CT operators in Wales could participate in the census to help build a clear picture of the impact and value of community transport in Wales by capturing what they achieve on a single day. In launching this idea, Carl asked for the feedback from CTA members, including what questions the census should ask, along with their commitment to get involved with this exciting initiative. You can find out more in the slides below.
The day rounded off with a learning and networking exchange. Each session was facilitated by a CTA staff member or committee member who asked questions to prompt discussion in the group. The sessions looked at how CT can increase volunteer recruitment; what makes for a good funding application; how CT can better market itself; and what the CTA census for Wales should measure.
In his closing remarks Bill Freeman thanked all our speakers, our roundtable discussion leaders and our members and supporters who attended the event. He also thanked our sponsors, Traveline Cymru and The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, for their support
Reflecting on the content of all the discussions Bill highlighted how collaboration and integration had been consistent themes throughout the day and said we needed to stand up and stand out as one community transport movement across the UK working together to advance accessible and inclusive transport.