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Adapting to challenges during the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown had an unexpectedly beneficial result for award-winning charity CTLA.

Set up to meet the need public transport leaves unmet, CTLA has been serving the community for more than 20 years. The charity offers four main services – dial-a-ride, travel club trips, local community groups and contract work.

However, when lockdown hit, ‘rides’ for all four services dropped dramatically and eventually ceased as, naturally, many members had to shield. CTLA had to adapt quickly.

What They Did

CTLA volunteered to do shopping – instead of dial-a-ride it was dial-a-personal-shopper – and then delivered it to front doors at a socially-distanced, pre-arranged time. Mark Evans, Contract and Project Manager, told us that “Many paid staff also kindly volunteered to work extra hours without payment in their own time!”

Why it worked

This worked extremely well because those shielding, who were isolated and alone, talked to someone on the phone to list their shopping needs, had their shopping done for them (many do not trust online payments) and also saw or talked to somebody upon delivery. All for the price of a bus-fare! CTLA collected and delivered medical prescriptions, too.

The good news is that many members who have few family or friends locally have asked for this shopping service to continue and CTLA have decided that they will.

Supporting key workers

As many bus services were suspended or reduced, the council also asked CTLA to ferry key workers to and from work, which proved popular and useful during the worst times of the lockdown.

What happens next?

CTLA started as a voluntary organisation but, after winning council social care and home-to-school-and-back–again contracts they had to reconsider and now there is a place for both paid workers and volunteers.

They have about 10 main volunteers, but Mark says that they now firmly intend to recruit even more as “Volunteers are invaluable; a huge support.”

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