Community Car scheme is an initiative aimed at involving volunteers in their local communities, helping community members, through the provision of supported transport. The Volunteer Driver will provide, using their own car, essential door to door transport for passengers identified, who have difficulties accessing public or other forms of transport.
Recently the National Transport Authority announced six new Local Link Community Car schemes in counties Cork, Kerry, Longford, Offaly and Mayo. The schemes provide grant aid for a programme for up to 15 community transport service projects over a 12-month period, with the key aim of providing a community transport service that is accessible to all service users and that addresses rural social exclusion.
The grant aid, of up to €6,000 per project, is to fund activities directly associated with providing a community transport service. To date, six community car schemes in five counties have been approved and will become operational nationally.
The selection of projects for funding was made via a closed call for applications, managed by the National Transport Authority (NTA) through its network of 15 Local Link offices nationwide (one grant-aided project per Local Link area).
Local Link provides a nationwide bus service in rural areas around Ireland with a significant focus on providing accessible transport options for passengers. This project represents continued investment in rural transport generally by the state.
“Being able to get out and about is a vital way to stay part of the local community, and having access to local amenities can make a real difference to a person living in an isolated or rural area,” said Margaret Malone, Rural Transport Programme Manager.
“Providing a decent public transport options for people in rural areas,” said Anne Graham, Chief Executive Officer of the NTA, “is a critical element of what the NTA is about.”
The Government’s Ireland 2040 plan makes a commitment to the future funding of Local Link, which means that the programme will not only survive, but will thrive and develop at the heart of rural communities in the years to come.”
How it works As a volunteer ?
You state a regular time when you are available to be on call for volunteer driving. You are then placed on a panel of drivers available for call out as needed. In the majority of cases, you will receive several days notice to see if you are available for a specific journey. You do not have to be available all the time! You will contacted only for driving during the hours you stated you are available and even then if you cannot take that journey, that is no problem. Full training will be provided for this role at a time and date convenient where possible to volunteers.