Steady progress for TRIP

PUBLISHED: 10:22 17 July 2012 | UPDATED: 12:56 17 July 2012

Community transport charity continues to tackle rural isolation.

Delivering services local people want and need has been at the core of TRIP Community Transport Association’s work over the last year.

Steady progress has been made in updating the charity’s fleet of six vehicles and more people are now using the ring and ride service than before the free bus pass was introduced - something that initially hit bookings.

That is what TRIP’s annual meeting, held in the Methodist Church last Wednesday, heard from chairman Val Royle.

She opened the meeting with a special welcome to county councillors Paul Diviani and Sara Randall Johnson, who donated £12,000 from their locality budgets towards the purchase of a £54,000 new minibus.

“Their contributions were very much appreciated,” she said.

Also welcomed to the packed meeting were Councillor David Foster, the Mayor of Honiton, and district councillors John O’Leary and Phil Twiss.

Mrs Royle said TRIP’s team now comprises just under 80 people and that the committee and passengers were “greatly indebted” to them for their unstinting hard work.

Nikki Dawkins has joined the team and is to replace Tony Stephens as assistant manager when he retires.

Outings and short breaks proved popular during the year and a forthcoming trip to the Isle of Wight has attracted enough bookings for three buses, plus a waiting list.

Mrs Royle said the number of private hire bookings for TRIP’s Renault minibus had “risen markedly recently”.

“I am not sure why, but we are not complaining,” she told the meeting.

Care homes and schools were among those taking advantage of the hire service.

Use of the voluntary car service in Seaton peaked in May last year with 165 bookings. Over the year, Seaton attracted 1,300 bookings.

“We are always looking for new volunteer drivers,” said Mrs Royle. “They are not easy to find, so our existing drivers are kept busy.”

Sales of disability aids from TRIP’s New Street office doubled over the year and the Acorns befriending service had been successfully launched, thanks to an excellent effort from Carole Smyth who had “pulled it all together”.

l TRIP’s income increased by £20,000 during the last financial year, the charity’s annual meeting heard.

Assistant manager Tony Stephens, who presented the treasurer’s report on behalf of Roy Hyde, said: “The main increase came from the ring and ride service and hire bookings.

“Income from the ring and ride was £13,000 - 21 per cent up.

“We are clearly doing something right. Once we started doing outings and weekend trips, our income started to grow.”

Mr Stephens said listening to customer needs and adapting services to meet changing requirements had been part of TRIP’s success story.

He added: “We spent £54,000 on a new bus, increasing our assets.

“But we have now got to build up what we have got in the bank with fund-raising over the coming year.

“Everything is going the right way. It’s a pretty good result and long may it continue.”

l Extended coverage online - www.midweekherald.co.uk


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