For many members of the community living with mobility issues, even getting to a bus stop is a challenge.
Due to barriers like this, in some households shopping trips are restricted to fortnightly – meaning more non-perishable items than fresh go in the trolley.
But a new community funded transport option for disadvantaged Wodonga residents will now help these people shop locally and regularly.
Community Accessibility Inc, operating out of Hume St in Wodonga, has secured $9000 from the Rotary Club of Albury Foundation to offer two weekly door-to-door shuttles from homes to centres of commerce. CAI chief executive Helen Hunter said the grant filled a gap in funding for such support.
“We know a lot of people are stuck at home – it’s too expensive for them to use taxis, they’re not mobile enough to use the buses or they live too far away from a stop,” she said.
“We often get calls, as although we do community transport for things like medical appointments, shopping doesn’t come under the criteria for our funding.
“I read about the foundation and contacted Rotary for criteria to apply, and we found out later we were successful.”
The transport service, which has been up and running in Wodonga on Wednesdays and Thursdays for three weeks now, was modelled off a similar CAI program in Wangaratta, funded by the council.
CAI community transport and operations manager Rohan Willett said feedback from both the Wangaratta group and new Border users had been positive.
“Those people have been accessing support to seek specialist medical appointments but have not been able to access shopping,” he said.
“We’re looking to get some more feedback to provide to the Rotary Club of Albury Foundation at the end of the project, after six months of setting it all up, and we’d hope to just roll it on.”
Rotary Club of Albury president-elect Jean Burke said the grant was one of many planned for this year.
“This year we celebrate 19 years in Rotary in Albury – this is a really big year for us and the foundation puts us in a really good place to continue to support local community groups,” she said.
“We would really hope this transport project can come across into Albury.”
You can find out more about the transport service on 1300 704 530.