Clarington’s seniors population is about to get some extra help getting around, as Bowmanville’s Older Adult Association has added an accessible van to its fleet.
Steven Mussell is ready to make his first pick up of the day.
The 62-year-old is retired and loves to drive. He volunteers twice a week at the BOAA getting members to and from the centre’s programs.
“I enjoy driving them around, giving a little back. Who knows? I may have to sit in that seat myself one day, so this is good karma,” said Mussell, BOAA volunteer driver.
Mussell typically picks up two to three seniors every 15 minutes, but Wednesday, he took the new accessible van for a spin.
“This will allow people in wheelchairs to keep coming,” said Mussell — something they haven’t been able to do prior to having this van.
Gusti Ginstl is 95 years old, and has been going to the BOAA for the past handful of years. Being in a wheelchair, she says it’s been a challenge getting to her programs.
“Oh, I like the new van because I got in it first. It allows me to come more often,” said Ginstl, BOAA member.
Wheels In Action started in 2011. Last year, the BOAA made 8,000 trips with 129 registered riders. Those numbers are expected to double with the addition of the new accessible van in the next five years.
“We’re not on a public transit bus route,” said Angie Darlison, executive director of the Bowmanville Older Adult Association. “There’s not a lot of accessible transit they can use for recreational purposes, so this is huge for us and huge for our members who need it.
“They need to be here with us, not at home.”
It took some time for the BOAA, which serves all of Clarington, to raise the $80,000 needed for the van. But now that it’s ready, they’ll begin picking seniors up next week at a cost of $3 round-trip.
“Now they know that if something happens to them, they have a fall or things change for them, they’re still going to be able to come,” said Darlison.
It’s a price users seem happy to pay in order to carry on doing the activities they enjoy.
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