PENINSULA Transport Assist board member Clare Harwood has seen the significant difference transport assistance can make to the lives of people who have poor mobility or do not drive.
“I have always felt that people who go into aged care probably feel that all their outside interests now need to cease,” she said.
“However, we have one client in particular – Ralph Parker – who has proved this to be incorrect. Ralph resides at Mecwacare in Mornington, and he uses PTA’s service to get out and about. He uses a wheelie walker and does not drive.
“Personally, I have taken him to Pure Peninsula Honey where I thought he would just want me to wait in the car. But no, he asked if I was ‘coming in’.
“So I did, and it seems he knows everyone there as he has a passion for honey in and on beverages and food and goes there regularly. When we came out to the car, we sat there for some time while he showed me photos of his late wife and also of the art work he does. He really enjoyed having a chat.”
Harwood said PTA drivers take Parker to Bunnings, Garden World, Coolart Nursery, as well as doctor’s appointments.
“Really, wherever Ralph wants to go, we will take him,” she said.
Harwood said the service needed more drivers, along with volunteering rates Australia-wide falling over the past year. PTA’s volunteers had dropped from 75 to 65.
“These drivers are spread all over the Mornington Peninsula and in the City of Frankston and service clients from these areas,” Harwood said.
“We are coming up to the cooler months, and many drivers head north for the winter.
“Two drivers have recently had health problems, some have left for personal reasons and some have had other issues that take up their time.
“The fewer drivers we have, the fewer people we can assist. It would be great if we could encourage more people to volunteer with us.
“Drivers meet some interesting people, such as lovely lady in Mount Martha who used to be the food writer for the Herald Sun. She no longer drives and said to me ‘I hope your service continues’ when I told her about some funding cuts we have had to deal with.”
PTA is not free, but clients are only asked to contribute on a kilometre basis.
Anyone needing help getting into a hospital or appointment (drivers can offer assistance and stay if needed), just shopping or coffee and a chat is welcome to use the service.
For information phone 9708-8241 or email email@example.com
Office hours are 9.30am to 2.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.