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VideoDevon’s Community Transport Awards celebrate 20 years

Community Transport Awards Winners 2019Community Transport Awards Winners 2019 (Credit: Lucy Duval)

Posted on: 19 July 2019

The 20th anniversary of Devon County Council’s Community Transport Awards was celebrated last night (Thursday 18 July) – with 12 awards presented in recognition of outstanding contributions in local communities.

The annual awards ceremony, organised by Devon County Council and sponsored by local printers Pollards, honours the dedicated staff and volunteers who help deliver Devon’s essential community transport services.

The top accolade of Community Transport Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Steve Manchip, of the Coleridge Bus, which is based in the Kingsbridge area. He has served as Chairman of the Coleridge Bus for 18 years, and as driver on an almost weekly basis for 20 years. In that time, the team at Coleridge Bus estimate that Stephen has dedicated more than 6,370 hours of his time helping the local South Hams community.

Steve Manchip, Community Transport Volunteer of the Year

Councillor Margaret Squires presents Steve Manchip with the award for Community Transport Volunteer of the Year

Steve said: “I certainly didn’t expect to be Chairman after 18 years but volunteers don’t grow on trees. You do what’s necessary to keep your service operating and that is how I see it. A lot of our passengers are actually quite elderly; our oldest lady is in fact 98, but they’ve all got such wonderful characters it’s pure enjoyment driving the bus even though it’s sometimes hard work. You feel part of your community. There are always things you can do to go the extra mile that really makes a difference and certainly as a driver, all our drivers are the same, you don’t expect thanks. You’re just grateful you can do something really meaningful.”

Steve was also one of three award winners in the Volunteer Transport Enabler category. The others were Julie Dingley, of Volunteering in Health (Teignmouth); and Valerie Jeffery, of East Teignbridge (Dawlish) Community Transport Association.

Award winners in the volunteer minibus driver category were Richard Brown, of Tavistock Area Support Services (TASS), Nigel Stoneman, of East Teignbridge Community Transport Association, and Peter Walshe, of Tavistock Country Bus.

Three awards for Volunteer Car Drivers were presented to Doreen Beer, of the Silverton Link Up, Richard Jeffery, from the Blackdown Support Group, and Scilla West, of the Okehampton & District Community Transport Group.

The Community Transport Employee of the Year was awarded to Bernice Edgar of Tavistock Area Support Services (TASS). Bernice is the TASS transport co-ordinator, making herself available out of hours to ensure that all journeys are covered.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the awards, a Community Transport Photography Competition was held to capture the essence of community transport. A special award was also presented for Best Team Contribution to the Community.

Nigel Canham, trustee with Newton Abbot Community Transport Association, won the photography competition with his photo of a scooter user being assisted into an accessible vehicle by a volunteer.

The award for the Best Team Contribution to the Community went to the volunteer driving team at Sidmouth Hospiscare, who received a £200 prize donated by the awards sponsors Pollards printers. The group will spend the money on a thank you party for their volunteers.

Councillor Margaret Squires

Councillor Margaret Squires

Devon County Council Vice Chair, Councillor Margaret Squires, presented the awards. She said: “It’s incredible to think that these Community Transport Awards have been going for 20 years now. Congratulations must go to everyone who has played a part in these awards and to all of the winners over the years. Community Transport plays an important role in Devon to keep people connected to vital services that many of us take for granted, such as local shops and GP appointments. The staff and volunteers are the lifeblood of these organisations and their effort and commitment deserves the recognition of these awards.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for community transport, said: “Over the past 20 years, these awards have highlighted just how much good work is done across Devon in the community transport sector to help people who may otherwise be isolated. We’re very fortunate that our county has plenty of community-spirited people; these awards are a way of thanking just some of them but everyone involved with community transport deserves praise. We’ve seen some amazing examples of the selfless dedication that goes into the everyday running of these amazing organisations and they deserve a lot of credit for the work that they do.”

The award winners were selected from more than 60 nominations from across the county.

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