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Driving support for small rural towns

A hui of community vehicle trust volunteers met this week at Environment Canterbury to hear that they had jointly donated over 17,300 hours of time.

Community Vehicle Trusts fulfil an important role within the small rural towns of the region, providing transport solutions in areas outside of our urban public transport network.

Over the last year, nearly 35,000 passengers have been transported around Canterbury by Community Vehicle Trusts, and collectively been driven more than 623,000 kilometres. The networking hui provided these volunteers the opportunity to meet each other and share ideas.

Environment Canterbury supports vehicle trusts with funding grants. Community Transport Advisor Isabelle Bromham says that she is pleased with the volunteer-driven success of the vehicle trusts.

"There's so much good work being done to provide a transport solution to rural areas. Having a dignified and affordable means of transport is so crucial in allowing people to remain their own homes and to maintain their community links, so we are pleased to offer our continued support to community vehicle trusts” she says.

During the event, community vehicle trust volunteers heard from the Canterbury District Health Board about the benefits that vehicle trusts provide for their community. Raegan Kitto, Clinical Manager of Social Work for Older Persons Health and one of the Service Managers at CDHB’s Christchurch Campus, described the volunteers as ‘incredible’ during her presentation about the value that the service offers to people needing to reach their outpatient appointments.

The event also helped the vehicle trust members with advice on recruiting volunteers, safe driving on rural roads, and volunteering in the 21st century, before individual presentations from some of the vehicle trusts.

There are currently 15 vehicle trusts operating across Canterbury. They are best suited to smaller rural towns with an aging population, that do not have bus or taxi services.

To view the community vehicle trust website visit here.


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