ReadiBus was runner-up (that is, equal-second across the whole UK) in the Making a Difference category at the National CT Awards which took place at the NEC in Birmingham on Thursday 23 November 2023.
According to the award organisers, the Making a Difference CT Award ‘recognises an organisation that has gone above and beyond to create new ways to make sure its passengers feel included and supported’ in the aftermath of the pandemic and that ‘has put in place new, innovative, and effective ways to keep passengers’ spirits up and keep them connected to their communities’, following the loneliness and isolation of the lockdowns during the pandemic.
After continuing to provide essential journeys throughout the pandemic, including on every day during the lockdowns, ReadiBus introduced “Here Comes the Sun” trips in May 2021 in addition to its other service provision. The aim was to increase confidence in going out for more than just essential journeys.
These were targeted towards people with restricted mobility who needed support to get out following prolonged periods of not doing so during the pandemic. As well as overcoming any fear or anxiety about going back out again, they also addressed what was for some another significant barrier: this was not just about where was safe to go but having no one to go there with.
The excursions therefore were based on people in similar circumstances supporting each other to build up the confidence to enjoy local travel. ReadiBus also involved the venues – most often a garden centre or a pub – so that people were guaranteed a warm welcome and support if needed from the staff on arrival.
ReadiBus has provided hundreds of these specially arranged trips in total over the last two and a half years. Passengers have provided company and support for each other and commercial venues have played their part in helping people re-integrate into the community. These have helped people re-connect with the outside world and with each other. As a result, there is a bond of shared experience. The trips emanated from adversity – the loneliness and isolation of the pandemic – but passenger feedback suggests that they had an overwhelmingly positive impact.
Some of the reactions from the last twelve months have been…
- “The trip was so wonderful. I really enjoyed myself. After such a long time not going out, it makes such a difference.”
- “We all stayed together; it was lovely.”
- “The day was fantastic.”
- “I had a lovely time. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We all got on so well.”
- “I really loved this trip.”
- “I would like to go again.”
- “Getting out makes life feel better.”
- “It really cheered me up.”
- “The day was so enjoyable.”
- “I had a lovely chat with someone. I really enjoyed it; the day was delightful.”
- “We had a nice lunch and then sat in the sun and watched everyone go by.”
- “I met someone who I hadn’t seen for years, and we had lunch together and two other ladies said hello.”
- “It was wonderful to see the scenery.”
- “Everyone was so friendly.”
ReadiBus was also recognised at the 2021 CT Awards as being one of three best community transport companies in the UK during the pandemic.
What is ReadiBus?
The ReadiBus service is an alternative type of bus for people with restricted mobility who cannot use ordinary public transport. The ReadiBus comes to your door and the driver provides whatever assistance you need to make independent journeys safely.
Users of the ReadiBus span all age groups, while most are over 80 or even into their 90s. ReadiBus enables people to independently make every-day journeys such as for shopping, attending medical appointments, seeing friends and generally being able to do things for oneself. In this way, the ReadiBus service has a positive impact on physical and mental well-being and improves quality of life. The service enables people with restricted mobility to get out and about and to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible.
• The photo shows, left to right, Liz Johnson, Paul Bosson and Sandra Bosson at the National CT Awards event.