ACCT is a registered not for profit charity based in Ford near Littlehampton, West Sussex and provides a wide range of transport solutions including: minibuses, wheelchair accessible vehicles, (Dial-a-rides) and a volunteer car scheme.
Arun Co-Ordinated Community Transport was started in February 1996 by an organisation called Arun Council for Voluntary Service. This new project was to fulfil a void created due to a previous community transport provider entering administration and subsequently, liquidation. The project appointed a new co-ordinator called Brian Knight and it was his role to develop the service on an initial three year contract, with a specific task of utilising the existing resources and grants.
One of his first priorities was to conduct a study of local transport resources and as a result of this study, he discovered that not only was there a considerable amount of downtime of vehicles used by local organisations but also a financial drain of those involved. He then set about contacting the organisations that required transport and those who had transport and gradually brought the two together forming the charity, Arun Co-Ordinated Community Transport.
The charity then added a shopping bus service. This service provided those members of the community who couldn't use public transport a much needed and essential alternative to doing a weekly shop covering three major supermarkets which still runs today.
It was soon realised that while minibuses could be provided for both normal use and wheel chair accessibility, there was also a need for a smaller vehicle to convey both a wheel chair and its occupant, (plus an occasional escort), to medical appointments, day trips or other engagements and so the Dial-A-Ride service was added to the services.
While providing a whole range of transport services it also became apparent that there was also a growing need to transport people to doctors, dentists, hospitals and other appointments who couldn’t use either the charities own vehicles or public transport. To meet this new demand the charity decided to create a social car scheme that used volunteers as drivers to carry out the service. This service is still in operation and conveys around eighty clients a week to their respective appointments.
Over the following years ACCT continued to develop and had, by now, grown out of all recognition since its inception in 1996 and in April 2000, it became both a registered charity and an independent company in its own right, being run and managed out of the Old Dairy in Littlehampton until the property’s sale in April 2013 by Littlehampton Town Council.
ACCT was forced to relocate and subsequently moved its operations to an industrial unit based on the Rudford Industrial Estate in Ford, not far from Littlehampton. This provided the charity with not only better office facilities, but also more room for its fleet of vehicles.
In October 2013 and in keeping with the charitys commitment to help prevent social isolation, a new weekly Club bus was formed adding to the many services now being provided. This service soon proved to be so popular that it now runs between two and three minibuses each week to many different destinations and has become the highlight of many of the client’s week. Today, the organisation is still run and managed from its new premises with the service continuing to transport around 2,000 clients a month from in and around the Littlehampton and Arun areas.
Then, in June 2017 a merger took place between ACCT and Sammy Community Transport based in Bognor. The merging of the these two local charities made the newly merged charity the second largest provider of Community Transport in West Sussex and will now provide transport cover along the South Coast from Portsmouth to Brighton. This new merged charity will not affect either ACCT or SCT clients in anyway or the services currently provided by the respective charities. As expected with any merger there will be some organisational changes in the days and months to come but these changes will only improve, expand and strengthen the services that the charity provides for all members of both respective communities.