Case Study: Ian Tomlinson, Founder of Driven Community Transport, UK
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
“[It has] given me confidence to develop my digital strategy to promote our volunteering opportunities…Thanks for your support.”
Impact on the business
As a result of attending the DiTEM programme, Tomlinson has embraced digital solutions for Driven, and feels he now has the confidence to develop a digital strategy to promote the volunteer-led transport service.
Tomlinson adds that through connecting with Manchester Metropolitan University, he has developed relationships to help further Driven: “Due to my involvement with Manchester Metropolitan, and with support from their staff, I have recently been able to attract Dr Jenny Fisher (Head of the Department of Social Care and Social Work at Manchester Metropolitan) to our board.”
Students from Manchester Metropolitan will also help Tomlinson with the digitisation of Driven. He is currently working with staff at the University to recruit postgraduate students to assist with marketing, recruitment, and PR, while one is already helping to develop Driven’s website.
In addition to the benefits for Driven, Tomlinson credits the DiTEM programme with personal growth, too: “I am more confident in my decision-making and have a wider network of support in my ‘personal boardroom’.”
The training modules
Tomlinson particularly enjoyed problem solving with peers on the training modules, and highlighted the ability to work with “other people who are at a similar stage in their business development” as a great strength for the DiTEM programme.
Indeed, Tomlinson has already recommended DiTEM to a number of start-ups he is currently mentoring and his advice to other micro businesses is, simply, to “get involved”.
The Driven Community Transport (CT) project was created by Ian Tomlinson whilst still the COO at award-winning charity Fix It UK Ltd based in Wigan. (Ian started the charity in 2004.)
Fix It UK is a motor vehicle-based training and personal development centre working with 80 vulnerable young people each year. The project helps them to build confidence and resilience whilst developing their employability prospects and a range of accredited motor industry recognised qualifications.
More recently, Ian became aware of the transport and travel issues plaguing the borough. They not only stymied the economic growth of the borough but also had a significant hidden impact on social mobility and community engagement for some of our most vulnerable community members who, due to their isolation, did not have a voice.
Councillor David Molyneux (Deputy Council Leader at the time) stated the need to develop alternative solutions in the Wigan Council Transport Strategy documents 2011/2026. Ian responded to a council questionnaire regarding these issues and suggested a community transport option as a solution. The council asked if he would be prepared to develop the proposal further and Ian agreed that if he could safely step away from Fix It UK he would like to embrace this new challenge and try to connect people to places.