Hunter: Loss of community transport will leave vulnerable isolated

cara hunter

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has said any threat to the community transport service will isolate vulnerable people in rural areas.

The dial-a-lift service provides transport for elderly and disabled passengers.

Funding from the Department for Infrastructure for the service runs out at the end of the current financial year.

Ms Hunter said:

“The uncertainty over funding is causing obvious distress to service providers and users, with many at risk of losing a vital lifeline, while community organisations may have to let staff go or cease operations altogether. This service allows people to do everything from attending important medical appointments to socialising in their community and doing their weekly shopping and without it many would have nowhere to turn.

“I highlighted the very real concerns of my constituents in a meeting with the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Infrastructure earlier this week. A constituent contacted me today extremely upset at the thought that she may not be able to visit her husband who lives in a care home if this service is withdrawn. This is a heart-breaking situation for her and experiences like this are the reality for many others who rely on these services.

“I believe that we need to do everything possible to retain this service for the people who depend on it each and every day and have contacted Stormont departments urging them to work together to find a solution. This is yet another example of the harmful impact that Tory austerity and the failure of the Stormont institutions to function is having on the lives of communities here. If this service ends, vulnerable people will be left isolated and I dread to think the negative impact it will have on their lives.”

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