Charity Big Blanket Giveaway The team at Community Transport kept themselves busy over the lockdown summer months, learning new skills and working together on a project to hand-make woollen blankets which will be used by their minibus passengers when they journey to and from hospital. Staff at the self-funded charity, which for over 50 years has been providing essential services and support in local communities, wanted to create something to keep their customers warm in the colder months, especially those attending renal dialysis appointments at hospitals in the West Midlands. The Call Out for Volunteers The charity put out a call to over 160 staff and volunteers, to help with the Big Blanket Giveaway scheme to make the colourful blankets for their passengers. It didn’t matter if they were already a knitting or crochet enthusiast, or a novice with the needles, as lessons were provided by staff member Vicky Coleman, an avid crocheter. It was Vicky who came up with the great idea, as it was mentioned in the office that passengers on the buses often were cold or returned to a cold house. Requests for donations of wool, needles and support were circulated and almost 20 staff and volunteers added to the multi-coloured collection. Jo Beaumont, Community Transport CEO, said: “We’d already suggested to the ambulance service that we could provide blankets to help passengers stay warm in winter months, as an added value to the renal transport services we already provide. However, for obvious and understandable reasons, this was not possible as blankets entering hospitals must undergo specific cleaning regimes. Plus, departmental budgets meant passengers must give their blanket back when they got to the renal unit or returned home, often to a cold house.” Over 60 Blankets She continued: “So thanks to the hard work of staff and volunteers, and to Vicky for teaching the team to crochet, we already have over 60 blankets to donate to our passengers. This is a little short of our original goal of 80, but with donations still coming in, we’re hopeful to make the target.” CT Passenger driver Anthony Fraser getting ready to deliver the blankets Our Fleets of Minibuses CT Passenger, which is part of Community Transport, runs a fleet of 24 accessible and 13 non-accessible minibuses from their sites in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. Since the beginning of April, it has made over 37,000 passenger journeys, covering over 230,000 miles. It currently supports 300 renal patients on their visits to hospitals across the West Midlands. Some of the blankets knitted by staff and volunteers. Getting Involved with Community Transport Anyone wanting to get involved with the Big Blanket Giveaway campaign or to find out more about the charity should contact the team on: [email protected] or call: 01484 977226. More about Community Transport The Community Transport charity has been providing essential services and support to local communities for over 50 successful years. The national office is based in Brighouse in West Yorkshire. CT Passenger, which is part of Community Transport, runs a fleet of 29 accessible and 14 non-accessible minibuses in the West Midlands and North East, with over 80,000 passenger journeys made since the beginning of January 2020, covering over 650,000 miles. CT Furniture, which has stores across the North East and West Midlands, provides people in need with affordable furniture. All surplus funds raised by the charity are used to help and support more people, whether that’s providing hospital transfer services on their fleet of minibuses, helping those isolated in the community by taking them for their shopping or enabling community groups to meet up. CT Furniture is a division of the charity Community Transport Reg. No.: 247331 - helping to transform lives and build better communities.