Fears over cutbacks to community transport

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Serious concerns have been expressed for vulnerable people following proposed cuts to community transport that will hit folk in Leyland.

Lancashire County Council is pressing ahead with plans to reduce funding for Dial-a-Ride and community transport services.

But the plans have been slammed by objectors who say people such as the elderly and those with learning difficulties will be affected.

Bosses at Central Lancashire Dial-a-Ride – which covers the Leyland area – are worried about the cuts.

The service is a small 
charity, based in Chorley covering all of Chorley and South Ribble.

It provides safe and accessible transport to people who cannot use regular public transport for a variety of reasons and to other non-profit groups.

The organisation says it fights loneliness and isolation and helps to keep people active, engaged in their communities which positively contributes to their health and wellbeing.

The organisation is facing cuts of £75,000 for 2018/19 and £100,000 for 2019/20.

This is against a total annual figure of just over £500,000 for the LCT Consortium, of which it is a part.

Brian Clarke, chairman of the board of trustees wrote to Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, seeking his support against the cuts.
He warned if approved, “these cuts will affect the level of service we will be able to offer our area and that if they went ahead “some of the most vulnerable residents of the borough will be affected”.

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, who represents Leyland Central division on the county council and Leyland’s Broadfield ward on South Ribble Borough Council, said: “This is a decision that really does impact on the most vulnerable - elderly people, people with learning disabilities.

“It makes getting to places like the King Street Day Centre in Leyland, which ironically is a Lancashire County Council centre, more difficult.

“It’s a significant amount of funding and I’ve no doubt it will put into jeopardy some of these services in their entirety.”

Mr Clarke explained that Central Lancashire Dial a Ride is part of a consortium, working with four other partners.

He said it operates six vehicles, between eight and 12 years old, carrying out 33,000 passenger journeys a year.

“These could be at risk, without a doubt,” he said. “And of course, who are the people who use us, the most vulnerable people.

“People use us to go to the shops, the hospitals, and socialise.”

He added: “We have no margin in our costs.

“If the sort of cuts that are being discussed and are shared between the partners of the consortium, we have a serious problem.”

Mr Hoyle has written to the county council regarding Central Lancashire Dial a Ride, saying: “If approved, these cuts will be devastating to the level of service offered in our community. The service currently provides a vital lifeline to older people and disabled constituents who rely on this transport. Any cuts to the funding for this service will be hugely damaging to the lives of many people.”

The proposals are due to go out to a public consultation period.