Phoenix Community Transports Achievements
Having been set up in 2004, Phoenix Community Transport have developed and evolved to meet the needs of its customers. Secure premises have been acquired and a workshop opened. The fleet has been updated and a new corporate image established including distinctive and modern livery.
Phoenix Community Transport works closely with various Local Authority Departments and operates the ‘Runner’ project for the County Borough via a service level agreement. Phoenix Community Transport supports and supplements the work of the Social Services Department in the area.
Phoenix Community Transport is a member of the Community transport Association ( CTA ) in Wales. The CTA operate Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme ( MiDAS ) and Passenger Assistant Training Scheme ( PATS ) training courses.
All Phoenix Drivers are MiDAS and PATS trained and most have been trained in vehicle evacuation. All Phoenix Escorts / Carers are PATS trained.Most drivers and Escort / Carer are first aid trained.Other training that is identified as being required will be provided as appropriate.
Phoenix Community Transport has working relationships with local bus and coach operators and other Community Transport operators in South Wales.
The Runner Project for the upper Rhymney Valley areas was started in 2003 following funding from the EEC. The original operator of this project was the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO).
The Runner had a very difficult birth. The first bus was burned out before the project could properly get underway. The consequence of this was the project lay dormant for about 18 months until the burnt out bus was replaced by a new one. The Runner project re-started in late 2005.
The Runner struggled to operate on a consistent basis for various reasons and in late 2006 Phoenix Community Transport were asked by Caerphilly County Borough Council and GAVO if they would be interested in taking on the challenge of ‘running the Runner’.
The Runner operates from the White Rose Centre in New Tredegar and services the upper Rhymney Valley area. Initially, CCBC paid Phoenix all of the costs of operating the Runner and received in return all of the receipts obtained from the operation of the Runner. This operation was not a profitable one. In 2007 CCBC and Phoenix entered into an agreement whereby Phoenix operated the Runner at Phoenix’s cost and all receipts from the operation of the Runner were kept by Phoenix. There is still a shortfall between the income earned by the Runner and the cost of operating it. CCBC contribute an amount monthly toward this shortfall.
The demand for the Runner has never been greater. The community have grown attached to the Runner and are using it to their advantage, as was always the intention. The fact that there have been complaints from individuals and organisations who have been unable to book the runner for their use, because it is in use when they want it, is testimony to its success.
Sadly the Runner bus is getting older and more expensive to service and maintain. This bus has a finite life and Phoenix hope that additional funding will be made available to replace this bus when the time comes so that this popular service can be maintained.
Passenger Assistant Training Scheme (PATS)
PATS, developed jointly by CTAUK and Hampshire County Council, provides a nationally recognised standard of training to people whose role it is to provide care and assistance to passengers travelling by road.
Following the MiDAS modular format, PATS training is available throughout the UK. Unlike MiDAS, PATS members make a commitment to assess the training needs of staff performing the role of passenger assistant on a vehicle. These people may be paid staff, or volunteers and they may be performing the dual role of driver/carer.
PATS has five modules, an induction module undertaken by all then modules looking at assisting passengers with disabilities (but not wheelchair users), assisting wheelchair users, assisting children and young people and assisting older people.
Like MiDAS, PATS includes refresher training however this is only compulsory for trainers. Refresher for passenger assistants is carried out following an assessment of training needs by their managers.
Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme (MiDAS)
An award winning, nationally recognised, assessment and training scheme for minibus drivers in the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors. Originally developed by Hampshire County Council, MiDAS is administered nationally by CTAUK and provides organisations with the means to assess and train all their minibus drivers.
MiDAS is a membership scheme, free to join, with members undertaking a commitment to assess and train all their minibus drivers to the MiDAS standard.
MiDAS provides both classroom-based theory training and an on-road driving assessment for all minibus drivers and additional training on passenger assistance and the use of wheelchair accessible vehicles, for drivers who will be transporting passengers with disabilities.
Regular refresher training is a significant element of MiDAS and in order to retain their MiDAS Certificate, drivers must attend refresher training every four years
The CTA exists to support its members and to act as the lead UK body for voluntary and community transport. Our members are organisations embedded in the communities they serve. This is what shapes so powerfully the voluntary and community transport network and explains why it is so well positioned to provide services that focus on the local, on one-to-one help, on being innovative. In developing local solutions to national concerns, operators of community transport can respond to both individual and collective needs and drive forward social regeneration.
The success of any organisation depends on the people associated with it. We are grateful for the hard work and expertise of our trustees and members of our committees; the dedication and professionalism of our staff; the commitment of our funders; the breadth of knowledge provided by our partner organisations; and, of course, the integral support of our members.
The CTA's vision is of a society free of social exclusion and injustice, where everyone has mobility and access to the services they require. The CTA's mission is to deliver social change through leadership, learning and enterprise. The CTA will achieve this by:
- Providing effective leadership, learning and enterprise support to our members
- Being the voice of voluntary and community transport in the UK and representing the views of our members to government
- Supporting and influencing the wider network of organisations involved in voluntary and community transport and in mainstream transport services, in order to deliver accessible, inclusive and dynamic transport solutions to achieve social justice and social change.
Advice and Information
GAVO’s role is to facilitate and encourage, enable and empower local community groups. This support is delivered in a number of ways:-
Providing support to groups that need a bit of help getting on their feet by providing information about organisational structures, management committees, constitutions, charitable status etc.
Providing assistance with project development including budgeting and basic financial management.
Signpost to other organisations if enquiries are more complex.
GAVO offers a comprehensive training schedule that covers all aspects of managing and developing voluntary organisations.