Driving support in Eaglesham and Waterfoot

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A local woman is on a mission to fix transport problems faced by a rural community.

Being unable to get to work, missing important appointments or being unable to get home is no laughing matter but this is the reality for residents of Eaglesham and Waterfoot.

The current public transport provision is a mis-match between commercially viable routes and public needs.

Tomorrow’s Older People team has been speaking to local people and capturing their ideas and experiences of growing older in East Renfrewshire today, and what it might look like in ten or 20 years’ time.

Transport has come up in number of these conversations, so recently the team asked Eaglesham and Waterfoot residents to share their innovative transport solutions.

Resident, Audrey responded and shared her idea. While looking through the community council Facebook page, she noticed just how many people were being affected by transport issues.

Audrey, originally from the Scottish Highlands, decided to set up a car pool specifically for villagers. Car sharing is something that is seen as “the norm” in very rural areas so she was sure it could work for Eaglesham and Waterfoot.

Audrey was delighted that within days her Facebook page had more than 200 members which really goes to show the need for better transport in the community as well as the willingness of residents to help.

However, she is aware that not all residents have access to Facebook; so, Audrey has a call to action.

She said: “If you live in Eaglesham or Waterfoot and have neighbours who are unlikely to be on Facebook but who are likely to need a lift from time to time, you can post messages on their behalf.

“This will not only support transport needs but develop stronger community relationships and reduces the risk of people becoming isolated.”

When Claire Ramsay from the Tomorrow’s Older People team met with Audrey, she was excited by her enthusiasm and diligence.

Claire said: “It’s very obvious Audrey really cares about her community and wants people to have an easier life. Audrey believes that the car pool can offer practical help as well as grow community connections; she’s also ensuring that people using the car pool live in the area. We are interested in talking to people about transport by exploring different models that have been developed by individuals from the community as well as what it is like growing older in East Renfrewshire.

“We are keen to involve local people in shaping supports, services and social activities for future generations. We are delighted to be talking to Audrey and happy to connect anyone who is interested in a similar scheme.”

Audrey is sure that similar local initiatives could be set up in other areas such as Uplawmoor and Neilston where transport can also be difficult.

Meanwhile Eaglesham & Waterfoot Community Council is collating information to present to First Bus in the hope that improvements can be made. If you live in Eaglesham or Waterfoot you can sign up at www.facebook.com/Eaglesham Village Car Pool

Tomorrow’s Older People is a Community Fund (previously known as Big Lottery) programme which aims to involve local people and organisations in proactively designing the services and supports that will affect their quality of life in older age.

To get involved visit www.tomorrowsolderpeople-eastren.org.uk/ or connect on Facebook.