We’ve been providing a door-to-door transport service in Newcastle and the surrounding area for over forty years.
Newcastle Community Transport (NCT) was founded in 1974 by like-minded people who wanted to help less able folk travel to doctors, dentists and clinics. In the early days we had one vehicle, a converted van provided by Audley Rotarians. We were grateful to have this first vehicle, but our early passengers had a rather basic travel experience. The van had no tail lift or ramps, and if a passenger had mobility issues, we had to physically lift them in and out!
In 1979 we sold our first vehicle and bought a new minibus. With the aid of a ramp, wheelchair passengers could now be helped onto the bus. Fundraising led to further improvements, and we were able to install a basic tail lift. Originally designed for loading potatoes, the new lift worked well and we saw a dramatic increase in passenger numbers.
[Insert picture of blue mini-bus provided by NCT with caption – Our new minibus in 1979]
During the 1980s, our fundraising efforts helped us purchase more sophisticated minibuses, all built to our pioneering design. Between 1997 and 2011, council policy enabled the use of discretionary bus passes on our vehicles. Sadly this policy changed in 2011, and we now have to charge a small passenger fee to help cover our running costs.
In 1998, Newcastle Borough Council kindly provided secure parking spaces for our vehicles at their Knutton Lane Depot. Our minibuses stayed here until a change of function at the depot led to a search for new parking spaces in 2016. We were delighted when local businessman Mo Chaudry came to the rescue, and our minibuses now have safe parking spaces at M Club Spa and Fitness Centre.
Today we have three 12-seater, wheelchair-accessible minibuses. Modern vehicles like these can cost around £30,000, and for a small charity like ours, this can be a daunting fundraising target without sponsorship
In 2009, we were able to purchase a minibus with the help of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Grants from The Big Lottery, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust again, Staffs County Council, and Newcastle Rotary Club, helped to buy another modern minibus in 2015. In 2016, the latest addition to our small fleet arrived, as a gift from the Department for Transport.
Every year we provide around 15,000 passenger-trips. We’ve been providing a vital service for nearly five decades now. Whether it’s a meal out or a trip to a holiday resort, we’re always be there for our passengers.