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North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme

06 June 2016

North Argyll is characterised by many small, isolated settlements extending from Isle of Luing to Bridge of Orchy and Dalmally. There is generally very limited public transport linking these settlements to the main towns, with some more than 40 miles from the nearest town, Oban.

In response to this lack of access to key services, North Argyll Volunteer Car Scheme (NAVCS) was established in 2005. The Scheme provides transport to individuals in remote communities, linking residents to health and social services, shopping and other facilities.

NAVCS matches volunteer car drivers with passengers who are unable to access public transport due to poor health, infirmity, geography or another disadvantage. A part-time co-ordinator is employed to register the passengers and drivers, carry out all statutory checks required, organise the journeys, and manage the scheme on a day-to-day basis.

The Scheme has received support from the  An Suidhe Wind Farm Community Fund. The first award, for £1,000, in July 2012 contributed to the costs of supporting passengers from Eredine and Dalavich within the Fund’s area of benefit. A second grant, of £2,000, was awarded in April 2013 to allow the continuation of the service. Local medical practices have also donated funds in recognition of the essential service that the scheme provides.

During 2013-14, NAVCS had 101 registered passengers and recruited 54 volunteers. 1,174 trips were taken and between 2,500 and 3,000 volunteer hours given over the year.

Not only have the grants enabled NAVCS to support people with no transport of their own to access services and so continue living active lives and stay in their own homes, but the Scheme has also strengthened connections within the community. New friendships have sprung up between drivers and passengers, drivers feel more engaged with the community, and passengers are better able to maintain old ties.

One of the beneficiaries said: ‘I feel confident I can stay in my own home for longer’.

 

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