Open Country is celebrating the launch of its brand new wheelchair accessible minibus which will be used to further the good work already being done by the charity to help people with disabilities access the countryside.
Members of the charity gathered together with staff, volunteers, trustees and funders to celebrate the arrival of the new minibus. Russ Piper, Chief Executive of Sovereign Health Care, who gave a £7,188 grant towards the new minibus, was invited to cut the ribbon on the new wheels.
The new bus, nicknamed ‘Blue Calypso’ by the charity’s Advisory Group, will be used to transport members and volunteers across the county to take part in walking, cycling, conservation and adventure activities. Seating up to 13 passengers and with space for to two wheelchairs, the minibus’ seats can be reconfigured depending on the numbers of people involved each day. The bus has been dedicated to the memory of Roy Bousfield who was a Trustee and benefactor of Open Country.
David Shaftoe, Chief Officer of Open Country, said:
We are incredibly grateful to the Trusts and Foundations which helped to fund the new minibus. At the beginning of 2018 we faced a huge challenge of raising £40,000 to purchase the new bus and thanks to the generosity of many local and national trusts and individuals we are delighted to be launching it today.
Mr Piper from Sovereign Health Care was pleased to be able to support the fundraising campaign, said:
Sovereign Health Care has a history of supporting health and wellbeing initiatives throughout Yorkshire, and the opportunity to donate to such an important cause was welcomed by us. Disabled people gaining access to the wonderful countryside we have in Yorkshire is fantastic and we are delighted to have been involved in helping acquire the new minibus.
But the fundraising challenges don’t stop there. David continues:
It costs over around £18,000 to run our fleet of three minibuses annually with around 40,000 miles added to the clock each year. We simply couldn’t operate without our trusty buses which enable our members to explore all corners of the Yorkshire countryside and beyond.
A fundraising campaign for another new minibus has already been launched by the charity, which runs around 15 different countryside activities each week for people with physical or learning disabilities, sensory impairments or mental health issues. Members can choose from conservation projects, nature study, walking, cycling and outdoor pursuits all supported by a team of volunteers. For more information about getting involved with Open Country or fundraising for the charity, please contact the team on 01423 507227 or visit www.opencountry.org.uk