A community and charitable group in Dungiven has secured funding for a new minibus to provide a “lifeline service”, writes Sheena Jackson.
Glenshane Care Centre opened in 1997. It provides day care three days a week for adults who have moderate to profound learning and physical disabilities, including four wheelchair users.
Currently, the Centre provides care for 21 adults aged from their 30s to 80s from around the Dungiven area, giving much needed respite for carers.
The Centre suffered a setback in December 2014 when its 15-year-old minibus finally packed in, and made its last journey.
Manager, Amanda Kelly, said families of clients have been “fantastic” and have been “going the extra mile” to ensure their loved ones continue to attend.
The Centre has been fundraising to raise funds for a new bus, which would cost approximately £40,000.
However, Ms Kelly said a decent, second-hand bus would cost between £25-30,000.
Between a number of charity events, including a cycle sportive, a concert, donations from a charity walk in Dungiven and funds from Dungiven Parish Missionary Outreach, the Centre has raised £15,400. They recently received match funding from the Clothworkers Foundation of £15,000.
“We’re finalising all the details, because we want to make sure the bus we get lasts. We want to get it right,” said Ms Kelly.
“We want to get it perfect and, of course, it has to be legally right too.”
Ms Kelly hopes the bus will be on site within 12-16 weeks, and she paid tribute to the families of those who use the care centre and everyone who helped raise the money.
“Families have been brilliant and they have really supported the whole process, but the extra strain is starting to take its toll. It’s a huge inconvenience for them.
“The sooner we get the bus, which provides a lifeline service the better,” said Ms Kelly.
“Families are worried about the winter because they don’t want their loved ones to be isolated.”
Recently, the Centre received funding from the DOE’s Challenge Fund for the ‘Glenshane Business Park Beautiful Gardens Project’.
The project aims to transform two gardens - one at the back of the Centre and the sensory garden - from dereliction, and will be utilised by disabled adults and the wider community.
Ms Kelly said the work will complement future social enterprise activities, and will be conducted by large number of volunteers and partner organisations.
The work is scheduled for completion by March 2016.
“Everything should be in place by then and it will fantastic,” said Ms Kelly, adding: “It really will breathe new life into the centre and make it a more enjoyable place for everyone who sues it.”