Story & photo Eve Jeffery
The residents of Byron Aged Care have been whizzing around town showing off a new ride ever since their bus, complete with wheelchair lift, arrived.
Activities officer of Byron Aged Care, Lyn McBurney, will be driving the new bus. She says the vehicle has already made a world of difference to some residents. ‘I can take people out who are more disabled as we have a wheelchair lifter in the bus,’ she says. ‘Also some people who might not be in a wheelchair, but who are not able to go up the stairs, can stand up on the lifter.’
The bus has been the result of a gift fund at the nursing home, fundraising, and a helping hand from Rotary.
Byron Rotary president Gerry Rihs said that Byron Aged Care approached Rotary with a request for funding for a new bus with wheelchair lift to replace the non-roadworthy one they had. ‘The estimated cost was going to be $60,000, well outside Rotary’s means,’ says Gerry. ‘One of our members, Chris Burke, decided that this was ridiculous and got to work. After research over the net, he identified a secondhand bus in good condition in Sydney and investigated its condition, which turned up to be first class, meeting all the requirements of BAC.’
Gerry says that with a trade-in, a deal was made for less than half the cost of a new bus and BAC picked it up from Sydney. Byron Rotary also chipped in $1,000 toward the cost of the vehicle.
Lyn says the new bus is more comfortable and has a larger capacity than the old version. ‘The bus is air-conditioned and it also has more seats than the old bus. We can seat fifteen now,’ she says. ‘We try to get out twice a week. It’s helping them to get out into the wider community and mix with more people. I can take them to functions, on scenic drives, barbeques, picnics; it’s a very popular activity.
‘I would like to thank Rotary for their involvement and contribution towards getting the bus.’