Grampians Toy Club along with a number of community and business donors have supplied a wheelchair accessible to Grampians Community Health's community car program.
It isn't often adults choose to sit in the back seat of a car, it's like sitting in the middle seat on a plane - the vision isn't good, there isn't as much legroom, it's just not as comfortable.
For some residents with limited mobility their travel options were limited, sit up the back in wheelchair accessible buses or rely on someone to physically lift and transfer them into and out of a car.
Grampians Toy Club's Jamie Erwin contacted Grampians Community Health chief executive Greg Little with the offer of the car who said he had no hesitation in agreeing to the vehicle.
"Grampians Community Health provides vehicles for use in our older persons groups and NDIS programs as well as the community car for non-emergency patient transport," he said.
"To have a vehicle specifically manufactured to transport people in a wheelchair in the fleet will provide an even better service for people in our community and their carers."
Mr Erwin discovered the concept of purchasing a Toyota Spade after seeing a need in our community to allow people needing wheelchairs or with limited mobility to travel with dignity in cars.
"Other club members fully agreed to support the purchase," he said.
"Often people end up in a wheelchair through illness, accident or frailty and due to this situation, they lose some of the things we take for granted, such as how we get around in cars.
"The Spade allows them to sit up front, next to the driver for good social interaction, good visibility, dignity and a feeling of belonging rather than feeling relegated to the back of a van."
The Toyota Spade is a stylish, fully imported factory purpose-built vehicle, designed for people with mobility and wheelchair needs.
The Spade features an electric sliding left-hand door, high roof line and low flat floor; it also has a front passenger seat that is a 'Toyota' wheelchair. This means that someone needing a wheelchair can enter and alight the vehicle from the passenger side with ease, whilst staying comfortably seated in the wheelchair.
Grampians Toy Club, Grampians Community Health, Grampians Excavation and Soil Yard, Rick Steel, West Cranes and Access Hire, CKS Engineering, Monaghans Real Estate, Corinella Farms, Stawell Toyota, Moore Bulk Haulage, Anglican Parish Church Stawell, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Stawell Auto Wreckers and Heather and Robert Oliver in memory of their son, Peter Oliver all contributed towards the purchase of the vehicle.
"As a charity, donations to Grampians Community Health are fully tax deductible, however I am sure in this instance that was the last thing on the donor's minds as they genuinely wanted to provide something in our community that could change someone's life," Mr Little said.
Stawell's Stan Watson was the "test pilot" for the car and said the concept was a great idea.
"This car is ideal for people who are on home care packages and are supported by NDIS and those who may need wheelchair assistance," Stan's wife Karen Watson said.
"This could be an elderly person who can't walk very far or even a younger person who may have injured themselves or under went surgery and need assistance.
"The car is suited for people who are in long and short term need of a wheelchair for whatever reason."
Mr Watson said for him personally it was a great concept to be sitting as a front seat passenger in the car.
"It's not to detract away from Taxi operators or other transport means in any way," he said.
"The community car is designed to use the accompanying wheelchair. It's aimed at people needing to go to appointments who can get into the chair at home, go in and out of the car with ease, taken to the appointment and brought back home.
"All hats off to everyone involved. There has been some great work done by many people who identified there was a requirement for such a thing within the community."
The Toyota Spade will be available for community use through the Grampians Community Health 'Community Car' program. To access any of Grampians Community Health services phone 03 53587400.
Grampians Toy Club is a community organisation that is primarily a Classic and Collectible Vehicle Club with a mission of holding various fundraising activities that contributes money back into the community of Stawell.
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