Connecting You is a new Devon-wide project, led by Devon County Council, which seeks to address issues of loneliness and isolation using transport. It runs from April 2022 to May 2023.
The project is just starting, but a number of exciting activities will be taking place soon. These include:
- Devon Communities Together is Recruiting travel trainers who will provide support to help passengers gain confidence in using public transport, understanding timetables, and buying tickets or using travel passes, in order to encourage increased independent travel.
- A travel buddy system and developing on board support from staff/volunteers. This builds on the successful trial of the ‘Chatty Bus’ services in the Exeter to Exmouth area to encourage sociable travel and help people to switch to public transport from the car for some journeys.
- Working with public and community transport operators on driver training initiatives to help improve the journey for passengers.
- Targeting young people with a community rail project in Okehampton and a Try the Train initiative on the Waterloo line between Exeter and Axminster in East Devon.
Funding available for community groups
In addition, to ensure the scheme helps the people who need it, there is £170,000 available for community groups to develop their own innovative schemes. If you believe you have a scheme or idea which uses transport to reduce loneliness we would like to hear from you.
Cllr Andrea Davis of Devon County Council said:
Transport is often forgotten about when implementing new ideas or programmes to help people, and sometimes also seen as a barrier to participation. This fund will help to put transport at the front end of projects and be the enabler in getting support to the right people.
You can get information and an application form here