About Let's Chat The project has been funded by the Department for Transport, and it is a year long pilot, to measure it’s success in terms of engagement and outcomes. The overarching aim of the project is ‘Tackling Loneliness Through Transport’, and the Let’s Chat method was decided by a similar scheme that Walsall CT have been running for some time, with great success. Transport for West Midlands bid for the funding, and they were successful. They then sent out a mini tender to operators, of which we were one of three that were successful in securing the work. The aim of the project is to tackle and reduce isolation and loneliness in our local communities by providing places where people can connect to others, chat to people, socialise, meet others, build new links and connections, and be signposted to other services in our local communities that might be beneficial to them. With the mobile units, community hubs and passenger transport, we are placing ourselves in the heart of our local communities to try to reach as many people as possible. It is about bringing people together, from all walks of life, and creating a feeling of inclusion. Our role So, we will be the operators. Our area to cover is Coventry, Mid-Birmingham and the Black Country. We are providing two mobile units, with a driver, and we will be parking at various sites across the week to welcome people on board for a cup of tea and a chat. On the mobile unit, they will also be able to access leaflets and information on local services. We are hoping to get partner organisations to be on board also, so that they can speak to people. We also have the keys to spaces in Coventry, Dudley and West Brom Bus Stations. Here, again, people can come in for a cuppa, a chat, a rest, read a magazine etc. We will have lots of information on local services, and we will engage with organisations to come and hold events and sessions. This space can also be used, free of charge for local community groups to use as a meeting space for the duration of the project. The third service we will be providing is passenger transport on our minibuses for groups or individual people who register with us. For a much reduced fee (the funding will pay for the rest of the trip) we can take people to the destination of their choice, and back home again. Our contributions In monetary terms, we need to ensure that the value of the funding covers everything we spend on this project. Not only do we want to achieve our aims of the project, and we have to, to retain the funding, but we need to ensure that we have some money left over to add to our accounts. There is no point in us doing all of this, and spending every penny. Therefore, we will be keeping the accounts for this entire project separate. CT will be bringing community value, staff and volunteers that really value the project and want to see it work, friendly people to engage with the community, a commitment to making it work and reaching out to as many people as possible, a network of community groups that we have worked with before, and new connections, knowledge and experience of passenger transport, compliance, safety and professionalism. Community Transport is all about people, and community led, so we are the ideal organisation to carry this forward, and hopefully make it a success. Who is involved The Department for Transport have provided the funding. Transport for West Midlands are the organisation that won the funding bid, and then sent out mini tenders to local operators. The successful winners were us, Walsall Community Transport and Shencare. They are both very similar organisations to ourselves. Our teams will be the Passenger Managers, 2 x Admin staff, 2 x Space Facilitators for the Community Hubs and 4 x drivers for the mobile units. We will be engaging with other local organisations and community groups to take part (the Admins can probably give you a list) and Local Authorities, Supermarkets and other businesses. The idea is to get as much local involvement as possible, so that we can provide information on lots and lots of services.