With the recent heavy snow across the UK, many of us were temporarily confined to our homes, unable to do things we normally take for granted, such as getting to work, the shops or medical appointments. This experience provides just a small insight into what life could be like every day for people who rely on community transport to get out and about if those services were no longer available.
This could soon become a reality in Wales if planned changes to how these services are regulated throughout Great Britain come into effect. The UK Government is planning to change how EU rules for regulating passenger transport services apply here and wants to start treating charities that run transport as if they are just like bus companies.
The CTA team in Wales has suceeded in supporting Assembly Members to arrange a debate on community transport at the National Assembly for Wales. We are pleased to announce that this debate will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 21st March in the Senedd, the building that houses the National Assembly.
The Debate will be in the name of Mark Isherwood AM (Welsh Conservative), and is supported by Adam Price AM (Plaid Cymru), Dr Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid Cymru), and Suzy Davies AM (Welsh Conservative). We are confident the debate itself will include contributions in support for community transport from Welsh Labour and UKIP Assembly Members as well. In other words, we hope to be able to show cross-party support for the sector in Wales.
The debate will look specifically at the the concern about the current Department for Transport consultation on community transport permits (Section 19/22) and the potential impact of this on services in Wales. Members will also consider ways in which the Welsh Government can help provide stability for Community Transport at this time.
We would wish to encourage ALL people and organisations affected by the changes to get in contact with your constituency and regional Assembly Members (AMs), and make them aware of the issues you face with the proposed changes.
Does CT help you in terms of health appointments? Generally getting out and about and being active? Getting your children to school or in sports clubs and so on? What would be the impact on you, your family, community or beneficiaries if such services were put at risk? Let your Assembly Members know!
We would suggest that in the email you include some of the following information
1) Who you are and what you do.
1) The effects you think that the proposed changes in community transport will have on you, your family or your community.
3) If you:
- Provide community transport services – include the extent of your services, with, if possible, an idea of the size of the area your operation covers, the number of people you serve and the type of service you offer (e.g. schools transport, health appointments, social care journeys etc.).
- Represent people who use community transport services – describe the types of people you represent, the types of community transport services they access and the importance of this in their live.
4) Any effects you are aware of that the current uncertainty is already having on services, funding, or future planning in the sector
5) A request that your Assembly Member attends this debate to represent the organisations and constituents that will be affected by the proposed changes.
6) Please also share your email with firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can also encourage your local Assembly Member to attend.
Of course, you should feel free to include any relevant points of your own that you wish to raise, and please view this as a suggested guideline only!
You can find your AMs here: http://www.assembly.wales/en/memhome/Pages/memhome.aspx
The motion will be publicly available on the Assembly website a week before the debate.
Every day of the year, community transport providers are the lifeline for people in communities across Wales who would otherwise be stuck in their homes. They ensure that vulnerable people can access important services and facilities as well as providing social interaction for people who might otherwise be alone.
We would hope to make our elected representatives aware of the risks for community transport services, the strength of feeling in the sector and in our communities, and of the potential impact on services operating in policy areas that are the National Assembly’s responsibility.
We hope you will be able to find time to make the case to your local AMs. If you think there are individuals you serve who may also wish to do so for themselves, feel free to let them know.
Thank you for your support!