LISTEN: Emma Birtles explains how the UTTG are helping people across Highland Perthshire – Pictured: Liz, Joyce, Sadie
NHS Tayside is moving onto vaccinating the final few over eighties and starting on the over seventies across Highland Perthshire and beyond.
The Upper Tay Transport groups is helping make sure people can make it to their appointments by organising safe lifts with volunteers.
Development officer, Emma Birtles, said: “Probably the most important thing for any of us at the moment is getting our vaccine.
“So, we have a service to help people get to their appointment, whether it’s a vaccine any other health centre-based appointment, and a volunteer will help take the person there and back.”
Instead of facing a taxi fare or having to run an expensive car, the group charge just a small fee to cover volunteers driving costs.
All that it takes to organise is a quick phone call to Emma’s team and they’ll help to put people across Highland Perthshire in touch.
Emma Birtles explained: “There is a small charge for passengers, which really is to cover the expenses of the drivers, so the passenger would know in advance what that is but it’s not a big cost.
“And it really is, as I say, to cover the expenses of the driver in terms of general wear and tear of the car.”
But it’s not just making sure that people can make their vaccine appointment which the group are determined to help with, they want to change the shortage of transport in Highland Perthshire.
According to the 2020 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, found that Aberfeldy and Kinloch Rannoch are the most access deprived communities in Scotland.
‘So, we want to change that, says Emma, ‘we really want to change that, but we need the community to be involved’.
Which is why the group is running a survey to hear what locals would need from a community bus service.
The bus would aim to reach communities which don’t have a service running in their area yet, so they are asking for people from all across Highland Perthshire to have their say in what would suit them best.
As well as starting a bus service, the project is encouraging people to take part in active travel by providing cycling training and even making electric bikes available for people to borrow.
They also promote the national scheme ‘lift share’ which helps encourage people who are travelling in the same direction to offer lifts to each other.
And when it comes to new ideas, different ways the group can help more people and listening to the community, Emma says: “I would really welcome people’s involvement, peoples engagement, people’s ideas.
“And myself, and my colleague Eileen, will be there to talk to you, listen to you and infuse your ideas into the way forward for Upper Tay Transport.”
Anyone looking to get in touch can phone: 07388 236233
Or by visiting: http://uttg.org.uk/