Persistence pays off for Loddon

In 2008 a Transport Connections investigation identified a gap in transport services in the Loddon Shire, North West of Bendigo. A solution was needed to improve access to health and social opportunities for the Shire's ageing population and the broader community.

In response, fifteen community organisations formed the East Loddon Community Bus Group. In late 2009, they worked with the Loddon Shire Council to secure a FRRR Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) grant of $10,000. These funds were used to leverage further funding from other granting programs. 

Despite the early momentum, the project suffered setbacks, with changes in key personnel and the devastating floods of 2011. However, with an extension from FRRR to use the funds and thanks to the community’s persistence and local fundraising efforts, the vehicle was finally purchased.

While it’s been in use since December last year, the bus was officially (and proudly) launched at the recent East Loddon P-12 College Fete. Loddon Shire Transport Connections Coordinator Sue Devereaux, FRRR Program Manager Jeanice Henderson and Chair East Loddon Community Bus Committee Sue Thomas were in attendance (pictured).

This project is an excellent example of community groups working together, with the assistance of their Local Government, to come up with a solution to a significant challenge in their community. The bus is regularly used for outings and also hired by members of the community. A commuting service for access to medical appointments, shopping and social opportunities, as well as linking up with V/Line services, is planned in the near future.

The 2012 round of the Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) grants are currently open and close October 5, 2012. Applications and guidelines can be downloaded on our website.

More than $400,000 is available to support projects that focus on older Australians living in rural and regional areas.

Grants of up to $10,000 can be used to support various projects including residential aged care facilities to health and wellness activities and initiatives that help people age in place.

The program is open across Australia, but there is also funding available for medium term projects in NSW, which may receive multi-year funding. For more information, contact Jeanice Henderson on 1800 170 020.

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