CT Sussex, Actors James Bolam and Sue Jameson, Horsham District Council and Age Concern support new service.

Community Transport Sussex (CT Sussex) have launched their Travel Buddy scheme for Horsham residents. The scheme successfully matches volunteers with Horsham residents with similar interests, who may face barriers to accessing public transport and need support to get out and about.

The service is intended to help reduce social isolation and loneliness so that more people can enjoy community activities, access local services, attend appointments, go shopping or a cup of tea at a local café.

It will allow for people who use the service to maintain a level of independence whilst loved ones and carers will receive much needed respite.

CT Sussex is looking to recruit volunteers for the service. In return, they will receive full training and support and can devote as much time as they would like because it’s a flexible service.

Marie Claire Macintosh of CT Sussex said, ‘’We are thrilled to have two of the country’s most loved actors support launch our travel buddy scheme at our local depot in Horsham, where we serve the community week in and week out. We are delighted that so many voluntary groups like Age UK have expressed support for this new initiative along with Horsham District Council. The fact that we’ve already started to receive referrals is an early indication of its value and need.”

Actor Sue Jameson also said: “Good luck CT Sussex with this wonderful idea! Everybody needs support from time to time. James Bolam added: ‘The scheme is about building meaningful friendships and restoring a feeling of community. Knowing the residents of Horsham, it’s likely to be a huge success.’’

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Community Matters Cllr Liz Kitchen commented: “Loneliness is unfortunately something that we can all be affected by at some time in our lives. “Transport is often a factor which is not considered when implementing new community programmes to help people and can be a real barrier to taking part in activities. “I believe this new travel buddies initiative will really help to connect people to places and experiences which will improve their wellbeing.”

Andrew West said ‘’Age UK are committed to supporting older people to prevent loneliness and isolation. Transport is one of the keys to enabling older people to access groups and peer friendships enabling people to feel more confident and have fun!’’.

Launching the scheme on World Mental Health Day sends a positive message to those residents of Horsham who need support as the scheme is focused on increasing emotional and physical wellbeing.

Contact or call 01403 754206 for more information.