A vital transport service for older people in Cowal and Bute has received a share of more than £7.4 million from the Big Lottery Fund this week.
The grant of £552,735 from the fund’s Investing in Communities programme will help develop Interloch Transport’s provision of door-to-door transport services with passenger assistance.
Alan Macraild Interloch Transport’s service manager, said: “Our elderly population wish to remain in their own homes, but those frailer and less mobile face problems accessing local surgeries, shops, services and social clubs.
“Accessible transport is the missing link in the chain and Big Lottery Fund Scotland has awarded us the means to provide this support.
“Today’s investment will enable Interloch Transport to become more efficient, increase our capacity and develop our services with an emphasis on the individual’s
increasing needs as they age.
“With funding for new, bespoke, accessible vehicles, two passenger assistant posts, and two driver posts, our local communities will be able to enjoy the practical help that they have been asking for.
“We look forward to expanding our organisation and helping older residents in Cowal and Bute maintain their independence for as long as possible.”
Interloch Transport currently operates on Bute one day a week, its vehicle and driver travelling to the island every Friday from the project’s base in Dunoon.
Maureen McGinn, chair of the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Our aim is to support people and communities in greatest need and Interloch Transport’s work is a good illustration of responding to the needs of some older citizens.
“This simple and effective scheme, which opens the door for individuals who might otherwise be housebound, is a perfect example of the type of venture we wish to fund.
“The Big Lottery Fund is here to help and if you think you have a project that could make a difference, then come and talk to us.”
The five year grant will also enable Interloch Transport to support carers by facilitating respite, and will provide shopping deliveries and a prescription collection and delivery service, while helping to lessen older people’s sense of isolation.