ShareRide wheels in

Community ShareRide has launched for Lancefield and Romsey.

Romsey and Lancefield residents have access to a new Community ShareRide initiative to aid their travel.

An extension of Community Driven, ShareRide will provide a service to help connect residents to services and activities in the region.

The joint Lancefield and Romsey Neighbourhood House venture launched at last week’s Lancefield Community Lunch with a three-year sponsorship from Bendigo Bank.

LNH coordinator Vivien Philpotts said ShareRide would help prevent social isolation and mental health issues by enabling better connections.

She said Neighbourhood House volunteers began exploring alternative community travel options when people indicated difficulties in reaching medical appointments.

“There was a huge expense to people not being able to turn up to appointments,” she said.

“In Lancefield, we recognised that transport was an issue and we used funds from our community op shop to help people with access.”

RNH coordinator Michelle Balthazar relayed an emotional case that demonstrated the desperate need.

“A community member had been on a waiting list for a life-saving procedure for two years and she came to us in tears because she couldn’t get there. She had no social networks to assist,” she said.

A community survey revealed 96 per cent of respondents identified the need to travel outside the area for medical appointments. About 43 per cent said they had missed or delayed appointments due to travel constraints.

The Neighbourhood Houses began developing a plan to address the needs of the community and it became obvious this extended beyond medical care.

“People have needs for alternate transport other than just medical – whether that’s social or recreation – and it’s just as important for people to have access to these activities for maintaining good mental and physical health,” Ms Balthazar said.

Bendigo Bank has committed a $49,500 sponsorship across three years ($16,500 pa).

Senior manager Angela Dickens said the need for more transport options was a common conversation among clients.

“We were constantly hearing from the community that there was a need for transport so we are very excited to be a part of the launch,” she said.

The trial timetable has pick-ups from Romsey and Lancefield on weekdays with destinations in Sunbury, Kyneton, Kilmore and Melbourne CBD. There are also options for travel between Lancefield and Romsey, and around the two towns.

Full details, service sign-up and the Community ShareRide timetable with pick-up points are available from the Lancefield and Romsey Neighbourhood Houses and online at: communitydriven.org.au

Health transport assistance will continue alongside the new ShareRide initiative.

Appointments can also be made by phoning Romsey NH on 5429 6724 or Lancefield NH on 5429 1214.