Disability clubs’ transport saved after ‘isolation’ fears
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 Despite the cuts being forced on us by the Scottish Government, this saving simply has to be withdrawn.”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