Community Minibus Is REAL’s Lasting Legacy

by Catherine Smyth Media

A COMMUNITY charity has left behind a legacy to ensure transport is not a problem for Rossendale people – an accessible minibus.

Rossendale Enterprise Anchor Limited, REAL, was based in Bacup now is located in the VIC Centre in Haslingden. For many years it worked with and for many local organisations.

Vice-chairman of REAL Barry Payton said: “When the Trustees considered best use of their residual reserves they decided to respond to a need that had been brought to our attention many times over the years – the lack of suitable, affordable transport.

“We decided to use those reserves to buy a minibus and adapt it for wheelchair users with a tail lift and removable seats. It is now available for the older community in Rossendale and other community groups to use.”

The dual purpose minibus can seat 12 and a driver or take 5 wheelchairs and 5 people.

Former Rossendale resident Donald Pepper contributed £4,000 towards the minibus because his mother Dymphna, a resident at Ashlands Nursing Home in Newchurch, has been helped by REAL and its founder Dorothy Mitchell.

He was sponsored to complete a Tough Mudder challenge and his employer, Old Mutual plc, match funded the first £1,500 raised.

Donald said: “I am delighted to have helped Dorothy Mitchell and REAL to get the minibus. My mother, and others, will greatly benefit from the increased road trips they can go on.”

Dementia Friendly Rossendale will be making use of the bus and chair of the local group Brian Topping said: “This bus will really help us next year with the projects that we want to do.”

As part of the work Dementia Friendly Rossendale is carrying out they are trying to get all the taxi drivers in the Valley trained to be dementia friendly so that they are more aware of the needs that some of their customers will have.

It is proposed that nursing homes, other organisations involved in supporting older people and community groups can use the minibus.

At the moment they will have to provide a driver with a category D1 driving licence but in the longer term REAL is hoping to build a pool of volunteer drivers willing to work on a rota basis for the good of the community.

The bus has already been used to take people to a reminiscence session at The Whittaker in Rawtenstall and by a Scout group in Bacup to visit a police open event.

Barry said: “We are asking for a donation to use the minibus and all money raised from the vehicles usage will be used to keep it in a roadworthy condition.”

To book the minibus, enquire about appropriate donation, or for more information, contact the volunteer administrator Kath Payton on 01706 833190 or email kathpayton@btinternet.com

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