Appin in driving seat with new project

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Isolated elderly residents in an Argyll village have been offered a lifeline transport service thanks to the efforts of the community.

The Appin Community Development Trust raised £60,000 to purchase a car, recruit a co-ordinator and cover insurance and running costs for its community transport scheme, which launched on Monday. The trust has also managed to recruit 10 volunteer drivers.

The scheme will initially be a three-month pilot project, running two days a week, and can take residents to hospital appointments in Oban and Glasgow, as well as surgery visits and social functions locally.

Speaking at the launch in Appin’s Jubilee Bridge car park, Appin Community Development Trust chairman Bob Cornish said: ‘The Appin community is spread across a large geographical area and there is little public transport to speak of. We have invested a lot of time, effort and money to make sure the older population can have quality of life while continuing to live in a rural area.

‘We are delighted to now have this service available as it will greatly help many residents who would otherwise struggle to get to crucial appointments and social functions.’

The trust has purchased a Volkswagen Sharan, with wheelchair access, and has employed a part-time co-ordinator, Mairi Keenan.

Ellen Gunn, 85, said the scheme would be of huge benefit to residents. She added: ‘I can’t go to the surgery or the village shop without getting a lift, so this car is very good to have. I would have to get a taxi to take me places before now.’

At the end of the pilot scheme, the trust plans to recruit more volunteer drivers and extend the scope of journeys.

Funders of the scheme are: Appin Community Trust, Aggregate Industries, Scottish Sea Farms, Christina Mary Hendrie Trust, West Highland Housing Association, Argyll Community Housing Association, Argyll and Bute Council, the Royal Caledonian Charities Trust, NHS Highland and Essentia Foundation Scotland.