Transport Seminar

Here’s notification of an important seminar about transport in and around Nairn, Nairnshire, Ardersier, Petty and Croy. Key speakers include Rhoda Grant MSP and Maggie Lawson, MBE, of the Badenoch & Strathspey Transport Company.


Getting around the area and social isolation are troublesome issues for a growing number of people, subject to much discussion and review, especially in present times of public spending cuts. There remain a wide range of service providers, from buses and dial-a-bus to Community Transport minibuses and the recent pilot weekly minibus scheme between Ardersier and Nairn. and of course, there’s many taxis operating in the area. There’s evidence that nevertheless these services are under-utilised.

Still, local people have told us that they are not able to get about – to appointments, to shop, to socialise – with sufficient ease to meet their needs. Nairn & Ardersier Patients Group conducted a survey of the local community (not just patients) and from a large response identified around 11% of the population without their own transport (or unable to use it) unable to afford to get to appointments, to meet friends at social events or simply to shop, attend concerts or events and so on.

The solution seems to be a project which tries to maximise the use of existing services (by helping people understand the best way to make use of them and assisting providers in communication their availability) and which also provides facilities which fit between these services. The best proven example across Scotland, and especially in Badenoch & Strathspey, is a community car scheme.

This Seminar seeks to attract direct support from local people interested in helping the unwell, the disabled, the vulnerable and elderly through the simple medium of offering a little time and a lift in their car from time to time. We are delighted to have obtained such a high calibre of speakers.

We are particularly keen to find someone (or more) interested in acting as the co-ordinator for the project, but also committee members, volunteer drivers, people to answer the phone and those handy with admin (and even spreadsheets!). If the event demonstrates sufficient interest we will draft and submit applications for grant funding to meet running costs and to employ a co-ordinator.

We very much hope you will find time to attend this seminar which starts at 10.30 am on Friday 23rd September at Nairn Community & Arts Centre.


Meeting tomorrow night

We’re meeting at Nairn Community & Arts Centre tomorrow night from 7.00 pm.

We’re hearing lots about the need for good access to care at home and easier access to advice and support from our GP practice. Some of it’s really positive – like one patient’s story of fast and reassuring response by both nurse and doctor to sudden ill-health. Some of it’s a little worrying, like one patient’s complaint (currently submitted to the surgery) that they couldn’t get through to the surgery and even when they did they needed help from friends to get a GP to call back even on the same day.

Other stories of needlessly long stays in hospital and limited support after in-patient stays seem to be growing despite the efforts to improve access to home care NHS Highland were telling us about a year ago.

Also on the agenda. What do we do about the transport needs we discovered in our survey a couple of years ago? Are there volunteers out there interested in helping us get started?

All are welcome to this quarterly meeting…let us know what improvements you have seen and tell us what improvements you think could make a difference.


Pharmacists – a source of health advice

Our next public meeting is to be held on Tuesday 17th November at the British Legion, Cawdor Road, Nairn…ALL ARE WELCOME!
We’ve invited the managers of our three pharmacies to come along and explain more about the extra services they provide for the NHS. We’ll also get an update on our ideas for a local transport solution – we’ve been lobbying a bunch of people….will we be able to report progress on a possible partnership?


Bus services for Ardersier

We’re with those who are calling for improvements following Stagecoaches’ cancellation at the end of May of a bus service between Ardersier and Nairn.
The evidence we found when we surveyed people around Nairnshire last year was that Ardersier and the other outlying areas are notably less well served by bus and dial-a-bus than the rest of us….not that any of us have lots to chose from.

We think that organising an alternative bus service using the community transport association mini-buses would make a difference, and from what we’ve understood, it’s feasible with volunteer drivers. But the survey also made it clear that bus services and dial-a-bus are not the whole answer. Lots of people prefer the bus, but they’ve also made it very clear that the services provided simply don’t offer the flexibility that they need. Even if a service is available, for 11% of our survey respondents they aren’t available for them to complete their return journey. Buses run at set times over fixed routes. There’s only one Dial-a-bus and its availability is restricted by things like the school run or staff break-times. The Community Transport Association mini-buses are designed for use by local community groups and are well-used, but while they may be suitable for a bus route they don’t provide the flexibility of a car or taxi.

What’s needed for Nairnshire and neighbouring Ardersier is a flexible range of services that INCLUDE buses and dial-a-bus, doesn’t undermine local taxi businesses, but also fills the gaps these services can’t fill. We think what’s needed is LOCAL co-ordination, to help people and service providers to maximise the use of existing services but also to manage a voluntary car service. This isn’t a new idea: there’s a highly successful scheme in Badenoch & Strathspey and others in Inverness and the Black Isle.

We’ve been on the hunt for a partner to work with us in setting this up. Drop us a line if you can think of one we could approach…


Transport Survey

Transport Survey will be closing soon, please see details below on how to put your viewpoint forward.
During the course of the last year we have heard many stories of problems getting to the surgery, to the hospital and even to and from Nairn town itself, so we decided to find out more and see if we could help find a solution. We’re keen to learn a little about your experience of making appointments and getting to and from the surgery. With help from RCOP Highland we’ve designed two very short questionnaires you can complete, one about your last visit to the surgery or hospital, one about getting around more generally. 
Our interviewer will be at the surgery and various locations around the area over the next few weeks, so do stop and give her a few minutes of your time. If you’d prefer, you can complete the questionnaires ON-LINE by clicking on these links:
About your last appointment: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9SF66SM