Dis­abil­ity clubs’ trans­port saved af­ter ‘iso­la­tion’ fears

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Dis­abled peo­ple can still at­tend ac­tiv­i­ties and feel so­cially in­cluded af­ter South La­nark­shire Coun­cil agreed to main­tain free trans­port for vol­un­tary groups.

Plans to re­move trans­port pro­vi­sion for 13 or­gan­i­sa­tions - seven from Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang - were dropped at last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil.

It means free mini buses will re­main in place to carry el­derly, the dis­abled and peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties to En­able Ruther­glen ac­tiv­i­ties, the High Hopes Club, the Cam­bus­lang Dis­abled Club and Fern­hill’s St Mark’s, Robin and Out­look clubs.

Jan Sav­age, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of cam­paigns and ex­ter­nal affairs for En­able Scot­land, said: “Th­ese free trans­porta­tion ser­vices are a life­line to peo­ple who have learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, many of whom would strug­gle to leave their home if th­ese ser­vices weren’t avail­able. Peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties may have mo­bil­ity is­sues, may re­quire ad­di­tional sup­port, or may sim­ply not have the con­fi­dence to travel in­de­pen­dently. Lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion is a big is­sue for our mem­bers – less than one in three are able to name a close friend.

“In th­ese chal­leng­ing eco­nomic times, we ap­plaud South La­nark­shire Coun­cil on tak­ing the right de­ci­sion to con­tinue with free trans­porta­tion ser­vices.”

Ed­die McAvoy moved the pro­posal on trans­port for vol­un­tary groups to be dropped from the coun­cil’s 2016/17 bud­get at the meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 24.

He said:“Like so many cuts, we never wanted to make this sav­ing and that’s why I have had coun­cil of­fi­cers look for ways to avoid them. This be­came in­creas­ingly press­ing when groups told us many of them had not been able to make al­ter­na­tive pro­vi­sion and faced clo­sure.

“Given the im­pact this would have on the lives of so many peo­ple, many of whom only get out and about to meet their friends this way, we have stepped in. De­spite the cuts be­ing forced on us by the Scot­tish Govern­ment, this sav­ing sim­ply has to be with­drawn.”

The move was par­tic­u­larly wel­comed by coun­cil­lor Robert Brown, who said:“I’m de­lighted that the High Hopes Club, Cam­bus­lang Dis­abled Club, En­able Ruther­glen and other sim­i­lar or­gan­i­sa­tions will still be able to have the nec­es­sary com­mu­nity trans­port to get club mem­bers to the clubs. Most of them would have been forced to close oth­er­wise.”

Cel­e­brat­ing En­able Ruther­glen are one of many groups who have had their bus ser­vices saved

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