An inspired employee is helping tackle social isolation and loneliness with a new community bus for older adults in Renfrewshire.
Sally Logan, a Health and Wellbeing Coordinator for Renfrewshire Council, wanted to improve the provision of transport for older people who had difficulty in accessing public transport, and who sometimes felt unable to leave their home.
Sally put the wheels in motion for her vision by applying for the Lens intrapreneurship programme, which funds and supports innovative problem-solving projects brought forward by staff within an organisation, and she was successful with an award of £10,000 to develop her concept.
Sally said: “I’m so excited to have been supported by the Council and the Lens programme to create this bus.
We organise lots of outings and events for our older tenants but there were some who had difficulty getting on and off the transport that we could book.
“However, this new bus will create a huge opportunity for many people to be able to get out who otherwise could feel isolated or excluded.”
Part of the Strengthening Opportunities for Older People in Renfrewshire programme, the SOOPIR bus is now ready to be launched to provide transport for the council’s sheltered and amenity housing groups including Forever Young, Cotton Club, Quality Circle and Cairn Heights for trips and activities that, until now, not everyone could attend.
Provision of the bus may also be extended in future to allow other community groups to use this new form of accessible transport.
Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board said: “Sally has done a fantastic job in bringing her idea for a community bus to fruition and it will make a real difference to the lives of older adults in Renfrewshire.
“The bus will allow people to retain their independence, address the issue of loneliness and give them a new lease of life, and is a great example of what the Lens programme can do for council staff and the community.”
Renfrewshire was the first Scottish Council to run the Lens intrapreneurship programme in 2016, and 15 employees have been supported so far to make a difference to council services and the local community.
The SOOPIR bus has been funded through a grant from The Lens programme as well as match funding provided by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).
SPT vice-chair David Wilson said: “SPT is delighted to support this vital project to assist older and disabled people in Renfrewshire, as well as other community groups, to access activities and leisure facilities to improve their quality of life.
“Projects such as this are proving to be most beneficial as it increases opportunities for social interaction and physical activity, all of which help in reducing loneliness amongst some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
For more information on the SOOPIR bus, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.