Council reviews transport costs

AN AGE Concern volunteer in Eastwood said she was ‘delighted’ at hearing the news that Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed to review community transport costs.

Josie Forrest was left seething earlier this year when the council increased community transport charges from £1 to £5 and said she was worried pensioners would stop coming to the Age Concern luncheon clubs, run from the Colin Dyson Centre in Edward Road.

But at a meeting between council officers and county-wide voluntary groups earlier this week, the council agreed to review the new charges.

Ms Forrest who attended the meeting on Tuesday morning said: “I’m absolutely delighted that they’re going to be reviewed.

“I was hoping they would listen to us and take on board our thoughts and it looks like they have.”

Ms Forrest, who is also an Eastwood town councillor, said she thought it was a pity the council did not speak to the people involved in running the clubs before making the decisions in the first place.

“We are the big society and we should be listened to,” she said.

The cost of community transport to take pensioners to luncheon clubs across Nottinghamshire, including the one in Eastwood, rocketed last month from £1 to £5 per person.

Pensioners, who otherwise may not get out of their homes to meet other people, are picked up and taken down the road for the Age Concern luncheon club each week. People who run the service branded the 400 per cent hike in cost ‘unfair’.

The lunch club runs Mondays to Thursday and offers the elderly the opportunity to socialise with bingo, entertainment and a cooked lunch.

Ms Forrest is now set to launch a social afternoon and tea dance to extend the sessions on a Thursday, in case the Monday clubs come to an end because of the proposed charge increases.

But Cllr Kevin Rostance, the county council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, said they had listened to people’s concerns and would have further discussions ‘over the next week or so’.

“We’ve had discussions this week with Age UK and other providers of services to older people,” he added.

“We’ve listened to their concerns over charging for services such as transport and luncheon clubs and we’ve agreed to review how these charges will be implemented.