Closure of Arun community transport service ‘devastated’ its isolated users

(Left to right) June, Marget and Peggy relied on ACCT and are still transported by volunteer drivers in their own time SUS-181109-132319001
(Left to right) June, Marget and Peggy relied on ACCT and are still transported by volunteer drivers in their own time SUS-181109-132319001

The closure of a community transport service in Arun has ‘devastated’ its users.

Arun Co-ordinated Community Transport (ACCT) was founded in 1996 to transport members to the shops, hospitals and outings when they would otherwise be left isolated and housebound.

In June 2017, ACCT merged with Bognor-based Sammy Community Transport and, about a year later, was liquidated leaving dozens of elderly and vulnerable people without a vital service.

Kevin Quickenden, a driver for ACCT and Sammy for over nine years, said the charity had been on a ‘downward slope’ since Sammy’s takeover.

“It has devastated everybody,” he said.

“Mr Quickenden said many service-users have not been told about the cancellation of the service. He said: “One lady sat outside her house for over two hours expecting someone to turn up. No-one did. Her neighbour had to take her back inside.”

Sammy Community Transport has been approached for comment.

As the charity’s buildings and vehicles are sold off, ex-drivers like Kevin have been forced to use their own cars to take their former clients to their destinations.

Angela William, 77, had used ACCT since 1999 and thanked the volunteers for trying to continue the service but said the loss of the charity had left a ‘big hole’ in her life.

“Myself and my partner don’t have a car so we used it at least once a week for hospital visits and GP appointments, sometimes two or three times,” she said.

“I have a bad knee so I struggle to stand and climb stairs. It made a big difference in taking me to places I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to.”

Good news may be on the horizon for the ACCT community, with a possible replacement service in the pipeline backed by suppliers of mobility equipment Southern Mobility.

Provisionally called Arun Community Transport, the group have started a crowdfunding campaign.

Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aruncommunitytransport to view the campaign, which has a target of raising £25,000.

To date the campaign has attracted funding of £685 from a total of 11 supporters. ‘Anything you can give will make a difference’, the page stated.

See also:

Community transport charity in Arun and Chichester to close

Councillors ‘deserve explanation’ after Sammy Transport closure