Disabled group’s fears as bus lifeline is axed
Club could fold after council cuts vital transport
A group of disabled people fear for the future of their long-established club after the council announced it is to axe the bus service that has been their lifeline.
South Lanarkshire Council broke the news to the Eastfield Physically Disabled Club committee that the blue bus that has taken members to the club from Halfway, Cambuslang and Rutherglen since it was founded 30 years ago is to be withdrawn.
The service, which will be scrapped from March 31, has allowed people who have a disability the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others.
The loss of the free bus, which has been funded by the social work department, means many members will no longer be able to enjoy the weekly get-together.
Committee member Liz Stubbs (58) of Halfway says withdrawal of the transport puts the future of the club in jeopardy.
“A lot of our disabled members do not get out at any other time. For wheelchair users, this meeting is all they have got. It is difficult enough for us to run the club ourselves without having to run a bus service too,” hit out Liz, whose club has 21 members.
“The members are really disappointed. Families who are looking after people with disabilities get a couple of hours’ break when the people they care for are at the club, so it is going to affect them too.
“The club teach members to mix with people and learn new things. I can’t believe after all these years we’re to lose the bus.”
Liz says other support groups will be affected by the end of the bus service, including the Robin Club, which supports people with learning disabilities.
The scrapping of the service means members will no longer be able to enjoy their annual outing unless they hire a bus at the cost of at least £400.
The club have traditionally received a grant to fund their Christmas dinner – but that too has been axed by council chiefs.
“I’d ask those at the council who make these decisions to put themselves in the position of our members,” said Liz, who says the loss of the bus service will drastically affect people like Betty Gallagher of Rutherglen, who has been attending the club for 30 years.
“The bus driver comes in for a chat when he drops everyone off – and we’ll miss his company too.”
A South Lanarkshire Council spokesperson said: “The council are working with the group to identify alternative transport options.
“We have met with them and offered to help identify how many miles they travel each club day and provide them with a list of community transport groups.
“Once that has been established we will help them explore funding and grant options.”