The world orienteering championships will be taking place in our area from the 31st July to the 7th of August and they will be coming in such large numbers that accommodation will be a problem for volunteers that are helping organise the event. The local group Moravian Orienteers tell the Gurn that there have been 3,000 entrants already with 500 from Sweden and Switzerland alone.
The orienteers have put out an appeal to the community. The official website for the championship states:
“Volunteers are coming from all over Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe and beyond to help us deliver the World Orienteering Championships. We are asking residents of Inverness and Moray if they could help a volunteer by providing affordable bed and breakfast in their home. If you can help, or if you are a volunteer seeking accommodation, please see below.” More details here if you can help.
At the Nairn and Ardersier patients group meeting on Wednesday night the organisation's recent research into the difficulties that some patients have in accessing transport to appointments was raised (Gurn article here). One of our regular readers commented on the possibility that the Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company (BSCTC) could be a role model for a possible solution locally. The BSCTC website about page details the following:
“BSCTC operates one of the most successful Community Transport Schemes in Scotland, with the assistance of volunteer drivers and telephonists. The scheme meets the individual needs of people who cannot get out and about and fills gaps in existing public transport. Clients of the Car Scheme are able to travel anywhere within Badenoch & Strathspey, including Tomatin, for a small charge. Currently in Aviemore, the scheme offers door-to-door transport in the form of an assisted Shopping Project; it is also running a project using the 7-seater vehicle and a paid driver providing transport within Aviemore on a Monday and Friday.
The scheme, commonly known as the “Where 2 Today?” project, also operates a 14 seater community bus, which is fully accessible. This vehicle operates 3 days per week on registered routes - see the dedicated 14 -Seater Vehicle page.
Both the 7-seater and 14-seater vehicles can be hired for any purpose, anything from visits to the Theatre, Visitor Attractions, Social Events, Coffee mornings, Sports outings, Youth Activities, Shopping trips, in fact, anywhere you wish!
Also within the scheme, the Charity not only helps people make journeys by road, they provide a FREE loan system for Electric Scooters and Manual Wheelchairs. See under Scooters and Wheelchairs in our projects page.”
Looks like a remarkable achievement. Our reader also points us in the direction of a Hitrans document dated 28th Nov 2014 that details more interesting information and specifically mentions NHS requirements in a pilot project with BSCTC. Here is a paragraph from that document:
“The Highland Council: Badenoch & Strathspey Integrated Transport Service The aim of this project is to develop an improved integrated transport service for the Badenoch and Strathspey (B&S) area. This will be delivered through a pilot project which links to the needs of the NHS and would be facilitated by the Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company (BSCTC) which is a registered charity. The project will improve access to services for elderly and vulnerable members of the community who can be at a disadvantage due to a lack of regular, and accessible, public transport. The two main elements of the project will be to deliver an improved fleet for BSCTC to enable cross-over with NHS requirements, i.e. new disabled compliant car and minibus to allow NHS non-emergency patient travel; and secondly the implementation of routing / scheduling software to enable optimisation of BSCTC fleet, maximising available driver resources and funding. If successfully piloted there should be an opportunity for community groups across the HITRANS area to benefit from similar routing / scheduling software."
Nairn is now locked into a Highland Council area committee that includes Badenoch and Strathspey and the same also applies for health administration so perhaps there might be some possibility of funding a BSCTC style project here?
Finally earlier this week traffic wardens were again spotted in Nairn, one of our readers told us that it appeared that several parking tickets were being issued. The days of local parking free from enforcement look as though they are now a thing of a past.
UPDATE: Our correspondent refers us to a Highland Council press release from June last year which reveals that Community Planning partners in Lochaber have already put plans in place. The press release is entitled "Integrated transport project drives forward support for health and social care" and is available here on the Council website.