Seniors without wheels or much money have been the biggest users of a Care-A-Van shuttle service launched by the Lloydminster Handivan Society in January.
Care-A-Van takes Lloydminster residents to non emergency medical appointments west to Edmonton, east to Saskatoon and points in between in a six passenger van.
“A lot of seniors have been utilizing it so far – they’re the ones that heard about it initially,” said Glenn Fagnan, a board member of the Handivan Society.
“It runs on a donation only basis so we are targeting people that don’t have a vehicle or have no other means and ways to get to an appointment.”
Care-A-Van is a collaborative project between the Handivan Society and the Lloydminster Regional Health Foundation (LRHF).
The Foundation purchased a new 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan for the service from funds donated by the late Colleen Christie who was a well known local resident.
Fagnan said Handivan’s collaboration with the LRHF was a good fit, knowing there is a need over and above the transportation service Handivan provides in the city.
“We’ve got such a strong community fabric in this city and this is just another layer of that fabric,” said Fagnan.
“It’s just something else that makes Lloydminster a better place to live and to help our citizens that need this service.“Fagnan said Care-A-Van is being used by people who cannot drive, or have no other means to get to their appointment or simply can’t afford to buy a bus ticket.
“They just can’t afford to get to the appointment,” said Fagnan.
“I just got off the phone with a gal who is going to Red Deer, which is a little out of our realm, but she’s got it in the early afternoon.”
He said she has some medical issues that won’t allow her to drive all the way to Red Deer, but it will work out okay.
“It’s going to be a long day for the driver, but she has two appointments,” said Fagnan.
The Care-A-Van has been incorporated into the normal operations of the Handivan Society.
“The key on this is all our drivers are volunteers,” said Fagnan.
“I have half a dozen solid volunteers and a couple more that are waiting to join in.”
Eventually, he said, they expect to have a team of about 10 drivers that they can call on.
The long term goal is to acquire a second van equipped to take passengers in wheelchairs or scooters.
Fagnan said the next order of business is to find some sponsors to “logo up” the grey coloured van.
Sponsors’ logos on the Handivan generate a revenue stream to offset expenses for that vehicle.
“So we’re taking a look at a sponsor for the Care-A-Van,” said Fagnan.
“We would identify them on the Care-A-Van. That’s all in the making.”