Royston and District Community Transport|
Helping those without access to conventional public transport to get out and about in Royston and the surrounding villages in North & East Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire.
How it all began
In the early 1990s, Dr John Hedges recruited a team of volunteer drivers, using their own cars, to bring patients to Royston Health Centre who could not get there on public transport, or by other means.
The group was soon a victim of its own success and became too big for the health centre staff to handle.
In 1994, Sue Vincent started Royston Community Transport as its co-ordinator, based at Royston Hospital with funding from the PCT. She started with a handful of drivers who transferred from the health centre scheme.
Janet is one of our happy band of volunteer drivers. "It’s great to have such a well-run scheme where we can get to know the people in the area who need our help."
RCT expanded steadily over the years to include other journeys – but not, initially, to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, until funding was eventually agreed between Cambridgeshire County Council and Addenbrooke’s to include journeys to the hospital.
A second-hand wheelchair accessible minibus was acquired from Royston Action for the Disabled, to transport people in Royston to day centres and clubs.
By now, funding was also coming from Hertfordshire County Council and North Herts District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and South Cambs District Council.
A joint project and a grant from the Old Barn Day Centre in Royston helped with the purchase of a new 16-seat wheelchair-accessible minibus delivered in 1998. This bus, and its more recent successors, takes members of day centres and clubs to meetings and on outings.
The Business Grows
The scheme continued to expand, recruiting more volunteer drivers and signing contracts to support clients of the Rural Day Care Project and Adult Services in South Cambridgeshire and North Hertfordshire. Additional funding was obtained for a part-time office assistant to help with the workload.
In 2002, we were presented with a wheelchair-accessible MPV funded through Herts County Council. This vehicle is unique in North Herts and is used frequently to transport hospital patients and clients who cannot transfer from a wheelchair into a car.
Sue Vincent left in September 2004 to pursue a nursing career and David Wherrell was appointed as scheme manager with a full time co-ordinator. The business continued to expand with contracts with Community Mental Health Teams and Adult and Child Care Services.
Later in 2004, RCT merged with the Melbourn & Meldreth social car scheme, adding its drivers to our team. As a result of the merger, the scheme changed its name to Royston & District Community Transport to reflect the wider area of benefit, and secured funding from Melbourn and Meldreth parish councils.
With demand steadily increasing, we recruited a part-time general assistant/driver in 2005 and agreed to merge with the Duxford scheme, which was losing its co-ordinator.
More recently, we have agreed to merge with schemes in Shepreth and Chrishall and we have taken on their drivers.
Now and the future
In 2008, RDCT became a registered charity and a charitable limited company, which makes us eligible for grant aid from more organisations or companies. In 2009 we were delighted to receive £5,000 towards our running costs from Johnson-Matthey, one of the largest companies in the area.
In July 2011 we took delivery of our Renault Trafic-based Warnerbus nine-seat minibus. This wheelchair-accessible vehicle gives us more flexibility for group journeys.
We now have over eighty volunteer drivers covering a large area of North and East Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire - and, with Chrishall, a little bit of Essex!
With a client list of about 1,000 people, we carry out approximately thirty journeys a day. Destinations include the major local and London hospitals. Journeys also include shopping, social visits, club outings, doctors, dentists and hospital visits, covering over 150,000 miles per year.
Clients qualify to use the scheme if they have impaired mobility, old age or infirmity, are unable to use public transport and do not have access to a car.
The traditional view of Community Transport being used by the elderly is changing to include anyone in rural areas suffering social exclusion, such as the lack of a bus service.
RDCT is a member of CaMBS, the Cambridgeshire Minibus Brokerage Scheme which is a vehicle-sharing scheme that enables community groups, clubs and not-for-profit organisations to use accessible and affordable minibuses.
Could you help with fund-raising?
RDCT is a registered charity, supported by statutory bodies, companies and trusts.
Our service is limited by the funding we receive and we rely on donations and grant aid to help us provide the help our customers need.
If you would like to make a donation, or help with fund-raising, we would be delighted to hear from you.
To contact us, please:
Tel/Fax/SMS: 01763 245228
Our Registered Charity Number is 1127052