A brand new mini-bus which will transfer children with disabilities to their health appointments on the Sunshine Coast has launched today, Wednesday 19 August by local volunteer organisation, The Board Meeting Surf Charity.
Chairman of The Board Meeting Surf Charity Mark Skinner said he believed the free bus service is a first for the Sunshine Coast.
“The Children’s Community Bus became a project for us following a survey of many of the people who use our services to find out what could be done to make their lives easier. The responses were overwhelmingly about the need for help with transport to therapy and medical appointments.
“The eight seat mini-bus will be free for families with children who have mild to moderate disabilities and do not have a vehicle, or access to a vehicle. Volunteers will operate the service by transporting parents, caregivers, and children to and from their homes to the medical appointment,” Mark said.
The Children’s Community Bus will service residents from Beerwah in the south to Cooroy in the north, and out to Maleny.
“One mother, who responded to our survey, said she had to travel regularly from Nambour to the Sunshine Coast hospital at Kawana for her child’s appointments. This trip took her six hours on public transport.
“It’s incredible to think that this would take her nearly a whole day to get to a 30-minute appointment and the impact was not just on the mother but also her child who struggled with the long journey.
“Their experience clearly showed us that we needed to find a solution to fix this issue while also supporting other families in a similar position,” Mark said.
A maximum of six people can travel on the mini-bus, including children with disabilities who are under the age of 18, parents or recognised carers and siblings. Local residents wanting to access the service are advised to book five days ahead and provide a letter from their doctor confirming the medically diagnosed condition.
Mr Skinner praised the Sunshine Coast Council and the business community who rallied to help fund the purchase of the mini-bus.
“We are so fortunate to live on the Sunshine Coast where good people always seem to step up to help out important community causes. Securing grants from the Sunshine Coast Council, Maroochy RSL, and funds raised from local events organised by our volunteers all contributed towards the purchase of the minivan.
“Donations from a number of local business helped us get the mini-bus signage installed along with extra safety and electronics, plus ongoing fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs,” Mark said.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Children’s Community Bus will make an incredible difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“The Children’s Community Bus really demonstrates our Community Strategy vision in action – that Together we Thrive – and that is why our Council has been delighted to support this initiative,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Dee Johnson, General Manager, Impact Wrap said she knew of the great work that The Board Meeting Surf Charity undertook over many years and was delighted to provide the creative and installation of the mini-bus signage.
“Mark and the team of volunteers are bringing to life a solution that an important part of our local community desperately needed and there is no doubt that it will make a real difference in helping families from across the region. The volunteers behind this great initiative are all to be congratulated,” Dee said.
Families wanting to book the minibus should visit: www.theboardmeeting.org.au