We have the car, will you get behind the wheel?

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Putting their hand up as volunteers for the Mid North Community Passenger Network are local residents, from left, Yolanda Cannizzaro, Joy Stewart and Darrell Thompson, with at right, DCM community development officer, Lynette Seccafien and MNCPN co-ordinator, Damien Graham.

Community Passenger Network Offers Transport Service:

A “community car” soon to be based at Mallala will give local residents experiencing transport difficulties more options – but more volunteer drivers are needed to get the service up and running.

District Council of Mallala made a successful application to the Mid North Community Passenger Network (MNCPN) for a car to be based within the council area, with the service set to begin as soon as enough volunteer drivers have signed up.

Already at least three local residents have put their hands up and will help the network provide transport options for residents who may not own or drive a vehicle; may be frail, elderly, isolated or have a disability; or have a medical appointment and have been advised they cannot drive home.

The service provides much-needed flexibility for residents and is available for appointments during week days.  A fee will apply, but certain card holders and hospital patients may be eligible for reimbursement.

Volunteer driver, Joy Stewart, already gives her time to the Lyell McEwen Health Service, and has been doing so for the past two years.

Joy says she enjoys the stories and conversations she has with those using the service and is looking forward to helping people more specifically in her local area.

MNCPN co-ordinator, Damien Graham, said the new car would be the seventh vehicle in the network, with others based at Clare, Eudunda, Burra, Hamley Bridge, Balaklava, and Riverton.

“It’s a good community service, in the sense that it’s driven by the volunteers,” Damien said.

“The volunteers have a lot of ownership. They’re local volunteers and that’s what it’s about.”

Volunteer drivers collect residents from their home and take them to appointments, with provision made for carers to also travel along if space allows. Veterans Affairs gold card holders and outpatients of Flinders Medical Centre, Royal Adelaide, Queen Elizabeth or Modbury hospitals may receive reimbursement for all or part of travel costs.

Users will need to check this with the service operators.

The network needs a minimum of five volunteer drivers as the first step in securing a vehicle for the area, with volunteers given appropriate training and accreditation.

Prospective drivers will need to undergo a mandatory police check, medical examination, driver assessment test  and an induction by Damien.

The MNCPN also provides a medical bus service in addition to its community cars.

The bus is available Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays for appointments between 10am and 2pm. Bookings for both bus and car are essential.

• For further information and bookings contact MNCPN on 8842 1677 or to become a volunteer driver, contact DCM’s Lynette Seccafien on 8527 0200.

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