Charity Bute Elderly Befrienders has marked the New Year with the arrival of their long-awaited new wheelchair accessible minibus.
The modified eight seater Renault Master vehicle will help to support outings and activities for up to 50 elderly people.
Robin Miller, project co-ordinator, said: “Our old Bute vehicle was on its last legs although it had done very well.
“It took some time to raise the funds and ensure we have enough money to actually run all the various elements of our service.
“Our overall project has increased in scope in recent years although we keep our minibus supported peer-befriending outings and traditional one-to-one befriending at its core.
“It has been helpful to work with our friends at Interloch Transport and compare our vehicle requirements and suppliers with their recent purchases.”
The new mini-bus was delivered thanks to support from For Bute, The Wolfson Foundation, The Robertson Trust, The Rothesay Common Good Fund, Bute Rotary Club, Artemis and The Bute Vintage Club. Bute Elderly Befrienders is a regional offshoot off the Cowal Elderly Befrienders charity.
Bute Outreach Worker Pieter van der Werf said: “The new Bute bus is a big asset for our service on the island. We are very grateful to everyone on Bute who has continued to support the running costs of our work as well as the purchase of the new vehicle. We still have some money to raise for the project but the future of our Bute work is looking good.
Having gone on a few outings in the Renault already, all our passengers are delighted! No more ‘mind your head’ - the new bus is higher; and there will be more comfort in winter because of the extra heater in the back. However, when Jimmy said we could do with an ‘in-flight’ entertainment system… I responded by starting singing! The on-board entertainment will still need to be provided by the passengers and the driver!”