Farr North Community Development Trust
The Farr North Community Development Trust was shortlisted for the Social Innovation Challenge. Their ambition is to create a transport service using electric vehicles, for members of their very remote community to access essential services and social events.
The vision of Farr North Community Development Trust is that everyone in Farr, a large remote area in Sutherland in the Highlands, can get to the places they need to get to. They want to establish a Community Transport Enterprise, utilising volunteers to drive pool electric vehicles, which is what led them to apply for the Social Innovation Challenge.
Their vision is for an on-demand service offering door-to-door transport at an affordable price. By providing this service, they want to address inequalities with little impact on the environment. Their area is incredibly remote, the ancient Parish of Farr is home to about 950 people, and the main hospital is 100 miles away.
They have found that people in Farr are often isolated, lonely, and struggling to access basic services such as shops, medical appointments, and opportunities to socialise because the distance is too far, or transport options are limited. The cost of this on mental and physical well-being is persistent, with cumulative financial impacts.
The Farr North Community Development Trust’s solution is to provide a small community transport organisation focusing on the needs of their community. They envisage a service providing peace of mind and dignity so that people will know that they can get to where they need to without relying on friends and family. They also want to support people with independent living, where older people will be able to live at home for longer. They will promote community cohesion and active citizenry by allowing people to socialise in situations where they would otherwise be isolated, by giving access to community activities, and by giving opportunities for volunteers to help the service thrive.
Farr North Community Develop Trust is a young organisation grappling with the myriad of community development issues in remote rural communities. As well as working to develop this community transport project, they have delivered a subsidised hot meal service for vulnerable people, crafting classes, and are leading a community response to the threatened closure of the local shop, Post Office, and fuel filling station. In the longer-term Farr North hopes to secure long-term unrestricted income through shared ownership of local wind farm developments.