Put yourself in these shoes. One day you’re relatively independent. You have a licence and your own car. You can go exactly when and where you choose, without asking anyone else for help or permission.
The next day, you don’t have a licence anymore.
“When an older person loses their licence it can feel like their world is ending because their independence is lost. It just doesn’t have to be that way,” says Mercy Services Transport Manager Robyn Houston, who runs the organisation’s popular and affordable community transport service for older and younger people with a disability. You may have noticed their mini-buses around the Hunter.
“We have 23 vehicles with over 4000 registered clients and provide 56,000 trips per annum” says Robyn. In 2015 Lake Macquarie Community Transport and Newcastle Community Transport merged under the one banner of Mercy Services.
Waratah resident Bernice Jensen O.A.M. suffered a stroke five years ago. Now aged 86, Bernice made a remarkable recovery from the stroke only to have her eyesight impacted by cataracts. That meant she had to give up her licence.
“I could sit at home and mope if I wanted to,” says Bernice, who could no longer drive herself to her beloved volunteer job as an on-site carer and fundraiser extraordinaire at John Hunter Hospital. “But when they pick you up at your door and take you where you need to go for a very reasonable fee then bring you home, they even carry your shopping in, it’s wonderful!” she declares.
Mercy Services Community Transport is a door-to-door service for eligible clients, providing them with transport for whatever daily activities are part of their normal needs.