A new partnership has been launched between Chelmsford Community Transport and Mid and South Essex Hospitals to improve access to services for patients and carers.
Chelmsford Community Transport (CCT) provide door-to-door transport by car or minibus for people who are unable to use public transport because of age, physical or mental disability, or rural exclusion.
They have now been awarded a grant of £20,000 from MSE Hospitals to support the growth of the service over the next two years, and have received a £5,000 donation towards the cost of a new minibus from Mid Essex Hospitals Charity.
CCT currently have seven minibuses equipped with wheelchair lifts and a team of 20 volunteers who drive their own cars.
For £12 a year, individuals can book onto the Monday-Friday minibus service in the Chelmsford area. Alternatively, users can request a volunteer car which will take them to appointments or shopping in return for an affordable fare.
Clair Dade, manager of CCT, said: “This funding boost will allow us to grow the service we offer to patients attending hospital appointments. We have launched a recruitment campaign to increase the number of volunteer car drivers to support visits to Mid Essex Hospitals and to the neighboring hospitals of Basildon, Thurrock and Southend. We are also keen to recruit drivers who are willing to travel to some of our harder to reach areas such as North Fambridge.”
Tom Abell, deputy chief executive of MSE Hospitals, said: “This is an important partnership with our local community as we deliver on the commitments we made during the consultation on the future of our hospital services last year.
“We have worked with our service user transport group to improve access for everyone using our hospitals. The creation of specialist centres of care will mean faster specialist access, diagnosis and treatment, and this initiative with CCT will benefit patients, their families and friends.”
If you are interested in volunteering as a car driver or would like to learn more about using the service for hospital appointments, please visit www.chelmsfordct.org or contact CCT on 01245 477750.