COUNTRY agency ac.care is driving to break barriers for local people by offering a free shuttle bus to key services and retailers in Mount Gambier.

The agency has started weekly dedicated return trips for residents to access Foodbank Mount Gambier or the Mount Gambier Marketplace.

The initiative was launched last month following feedback from visitors to the Mount Gambier Community Centre, who highlighted their own challenges accessing Foodbank Mount Gambier’s Cave Road site.

“There can be several barriers for people accessing Foodbank or the shopping complex, from gaps in the public transport system to the cost of fares or lack of their own transport,” said ac.care Homelessness Services senior manager Trish Spark.

“We hope introducing this free service removes some of those barriers and allows people to access the services or shops they need each week,” she said.

While vulnerable community members have experienced these issues for some time, it was the recent securing of a larger vehicle capable of transporting numerous people that made this initiative possible for the Mount Gambier Community Centre.

“We knew of these barriers and that created the opportunity for ac.care to go beyond our core services and provide this free transportation,” Trish said.

“We can help connect people to Foodbank or provide them with other supports, but if transport is then an issue, we have solved one challenge and created another.

“As locals ourselves, we understand some of the challenges within our community and strive to find solutions or work with others to improve outcomes.”

DRIVING CHANGE: ac.care Linker project officer Jennifer Doody has been a driving force behind the introduction of the community transport. It followed feedback received through her Linker project, which focuses on supporting vulnerable people from specific demographics who are experiencing financial hardship.

After a soft launch of the service, Trish said more seats were being reserved each week.

“As word has spread, we are seeing more people coming forward to request a seat and we can only imagine this will continue as the colder, wetter weather sets in.

“We have limited seating so we appreciate if people register in advance to help us with planning.”

Foodbank Mount Gambier regional branch manager Lynne Neshoda said there had already been great feedback from people using the service and she predicted the number of users to grow.

“We know it is difficult for people struggling to put food on the table to have regular access to food relief at our Foodbank Cave Road food hub,” Lynne said, adding cost of living pressures continued to increase the number of people seeking support.

“For people who cannot afford to eat, let alone drive or do not have access to a vehicle, it is extremely difficult to get here,” she said.

“This is a fabulous and a much-needed service for the most vulnerable people in our community and we appreciate ac.care’s support.”

The free community shuttle to Mount Gambier Marketplace leaves the Mount Gambier Community Centre at 11am on Tuesdays, returning from the shopping complex to the centre at 1pm.

A return trip to Foodbank Mount Gambier leaves the community centre at 11am each Wednesday, returning after all occupants have collected their goods.

To register a spot on the community bus, please call 7725 3000 or visit the Mount Gambier Community Centre at 22 Ferrers Street, Mount Gambier.

Follow ac.care and join the Mount Gambier Community Centre noticeboard on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest news, events and opportunities.

ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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