Transport for volunteers, young people and equipment is an important factor to consider when planning your trip. The nature of the event and the venue/location that you choose will have an impact on the options available to you, the need to transport additional equipment and the costs/time involved in doing so.
Parents/carers may be willing and able to transport their own children to your venue, though you should not assume that every family will be in a position to do this. Lift sharing can help minimise the demands on parents/carers to transport their children to and from camp – it may be preferable to help families arrange this informally between themselves rather than for organisers to take this on in addition to the other aspects of organising the event. Drivers must ensure that their vehicle is safe and roadworthy, that they have adequate insurance in place, and that seatbelts, child seats or booster seats appropriate to the age and size of any young people are used. Adults giving lifts to young people in private cars should make sure that they are following any guidance in the Local or Event Safeguarding Plan. You will also need to ensure that there is adequate parking at the venue for any cars belonging to those who are staying.
Coach or Minibus
Providing transport will increase what you will need to charge to participants, but can make the trip more accessible to families without access to a car, and reduce the demands on parents/carers, particularly if the distances involved are large. Private coach hire will incur significant cost – most of this relates to the cost of the driver, and it frequently costs only a little more to hire a large coach than a small one. You may need to consider access to your chosen venue, particular in remote, rural areas (for example, coaches can only access Woodcraft Folk’s site at Biblins from the opposite side of the river – kit will need to be carried across the bridge to the site). Minibuses can be a more cost-effective option – you may be able to hire one, with or without a driver, one at a reduced rate through your local community transport scheme or other community organisation. Check the licencing requirements carefully to ensure that a volunteer driving the minibus is legally entitled, as well as sufficiently skilled, to drive the vehicle. The MiDAS training accredited by the Community Transport Association is a popular route to enable volunteers to drive smaller minibuses without obtaining a full PCV licence.
Depending on your chosen location, public transport may be an appropriate option for participants – the Darsham Country Centre is particularly convenient as trains stop directly outside the front door! Costs can be reduced by booking special group fares in advance, or by making use of any railcard discounts that members/volunteers in your group are entitled to. Travelling together can increase the opportunities for young people to bond, exercise their problem solving skills and develop independence – though, of course, you should consider carefully how you will manage any risks associated with this. Depending on the age of the young people, the nature of the accommodation, and how far they need to walk at the other end, it may be feasible for participants to carry their own kit with them, or you may wish to arrange for bulky/heavy kit to be transported separately by car or van.
Vans & Lorries
Hiring a van or lorry to transport equipment is commonly needed for a larger or longer camp. If hiring on a self-drive basis, you should pay careful attention to the licence entitlement of your prospective volunteer drivers. Only drivers who passed their standard driving test prior to 1 January 1997 are able to drive larger vehicles on a car licence – others will be limited to driving Transit- or Luton-style vans. It is vital that drivers of these vehicles, whether hired or not, pay careful attention to the legal weight limits – the gross vehicle weight (GVW), which is the combined weight of the vehicle, its payload, the driver and any passengers, must not exceed the maximum for the vehicle – which will vary by make and model. The load limit for a van may be reached long before the vehicle looks ‘full’, particularly if you are transporting heavy items such as gas bottles and marquees. Anyone driving an overweight vehicle may be fined and/or given penalty points on their licence if stopped by police or DVSA officers.
Driving without adequate rest breaks will increase the risk of accident and injury – it is important to avoid making unreasonable demands of volunteers who are driving as part of your activity. Consider whether you can hire a vehicle with a driver, rather than asking volunteers to take on this responsibility. Can volunteers who have not been part of the camp be asked to drive the van, rather than asking someone who is already tired from a weekend at camp to take this on? Do you need two drivers who can share the task? An extra day’s hire for a vehicle may add to the cost, but this is preferable to asking a volunteer to undertake a long drive that is potentially unsafe.