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Residents offered freedom through community transport

HELPING HAND: Community Transport volunteer driver Paul Orman helping Nambucca residents Lee and Pat Kealy home from an appointment.
HELPING HAND: Community Transport volunteer driver Paul Orman helping Nambucca residents Lee and Pat Kealy home from an appointment.

AS WE get older, simple tasks such as getting to medical appointments, dropping into the supermarket or just getting out to spend time with friends gets harder and harder.

But thanks to the work of some very generous volunteers there is a community service available to drive local residents around for essential living and independence.

Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Community Transport (CBNCT) has over 35 vehicles travelling everyday throughout the region picking up passengers who are frail aged, elderly or living with a disability so they can access essential services.

CEO Bethany Simmonds said passengers are offered a unique door-to-door service for those who are having difficulty getting around, can't use public transport or other transport services are just not available in their area.

"We are a non-for-profit organisation funded by a number of Australian Government initiatives, which focus on keeping people independent, healthy and socially active as well as living in their home longer," Ms. Simmonds said.

"It's the volunteers that work tirelessly giving up their precious time that make this a truly personalised service for our community," she said.

Volunteers donated over 35,000 hours to the service last year, equating to around 85,000 kilometres travelled throughout the Mid-North Coast.

"Our wonderful volunteers are truly the backbone of our service, they develop very close relationships with our passengers and vice versa. The fleet itself also offers solutions for a variety of passenger requirements, from wheelchairs, wheelie walkers or just a walking stick," she said.

Nambucca residents Lee and Pat Kealy have been using the service for many years, mainly to access medical and specialist appointments in Coffs Harbour and Macksville.

"Driving long distances ourselves was just not an option any more. Without Community Transport we would have to rely on family and friends to take us to appointments, we are very happy that we can maintain our lifestyle without putting other people out," Mrs Kealy said.

"It's not only the convenience of being dropped off right at the door of our appointment, but we have a service that we can call on to get us there at a low cost. We really don't know what we would do without this service," she said.

Events are organised on a monthly or needs basis to a number of different venues as bus outings, with up to 20 people attending.

"When we make a booking we try to give CBNCT as much notice as we can, so that our social outing or appointment can be arranged and we don't miss out." she said.

CBNCT does have a criteria eligibility and encourages anyone interested in using the service to call and discuss their individual travel needs.

"It's important that anyone wanting to access transport in the future that they do so sooner rather than later," Ms Simmonds said.

More information can be found at http://www.communitytransport.net.au/ or call 1300812504.

Topics:  community transport general-seniors-news mobility


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