A NEW partnership will help blind, partially-sighted, deaf and hard of hearing people in Clacks access reliable transport services.

Dial-a-Journey, based in Stirling, will purchase and run a minibus currently operated by Forth Valley Sensory Centre.

The bus will be jointly branded by the two charities and provide Dial-a-Journey with a base in Falkirk as well as serving Clackmannanshire.

Dial-a-Journey will continue to support groups and classes at Forth Valley Sensory Centre with accessible transport.

Pat Reid, chair of the Forth Valley Sensory Centre Board, said: "The pandemic has affected lots of different areas of life, one of which has been travel.

"Maintaining a minibus exclusively for the use of centre visitors no longer makes sense."

The centre will have priority on use of the bus and will continue to provide their own volunteer drivers and escorts for Centre activities.

Jacquie Winning, FVSC CEO, said: "Not only does this partnership provides a much more cost effective solution for both charities, it also serves our centre users very well.

"We are very aware of how isolated our centre users have felt during the pandemic and as we are gradually re-opening some services, we want to make it as easy as possible for our centre users to come back to our groups and activities on safe reliable transport."

Heidi Anderson, finance and service delivery manager of Dial-a-Journey, believes the partnership is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the services available.

She said: "As a Stirling based Charity serving the whole of the Forth Valley we have been keen to strengthen links with like-minded organisations in Falkirk and Clackmannanshire for some time now, while still continuing to maintain our profile within Stirling.

"This partnership with FVSC is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the services we deliver, while having a bus based at the centre will offer a more efficient transport service for residents and voluntary organisations in Falkirk and the surrounding areas while also maintaining transport provision for centre users"

For more information on groups and classes for people with sensory conditions at Forth Valley Sensory Centre see forthvalleysensorycentre.orgor follow Forth Valley Sensory Centre on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit dial-a-journey.orgfor more information on Dial-a-Journey services for people who have mobility issues in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling.