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Car Pooling Service for Over 55s Seeking Community Connectors

Date: 
Friday, 13 November, 2020 - 12:30
Category: 
Media

Mansfield Shire Council’s Age-friendly project will soon launch Mansfield Shire Offers A Seat to Town (MSOAST) and is seeking volunteers to act as Community Connectors.

Mansfield Shire CEO, Kaylene Conrick said the initiative aims to increase and improve community transport options for residents aged over 55 years.

“We are looking to establish a similar program to Tolmie’s successful, TOAST (Tolmie Offers A Seat To Town). It is a car-pooling system that enables residents aged 55 years and over to access a spare seat into Mansfield and beyond. It’s a wonderful concept involving the development of an app so that people can offer free seats and others can book them,” Ms Conrick said.

“It’s based on the goodwill of the Mansfield Shire community assisting each other,” she said.

Council is now looking for community volunteers to take on the integral role of Community Connectors.

Council’s Age Friendly Project Coordinator, Bianca Hurle said these volunteers will help the community become volunteer drivers or access a spare seat.

“As a Community Connector, you will assist people in the community to access the program. They may need assistance for a range of reasons. By helping out, you will be increasing the quality of life to those in your community aged 55 and above. You do not need to have any previous skills, as all training is provided,” Ms Hurle said.

The MSOAST program will train the Community Connectors in all aspects of how to implement it into their community, including instructing them in the use of the MSOAST app designed by Issimo Markets.

Jay Cooper from Issimo Markets said working on the app has been exciting.

“We’ve enjoyed putting our digital skills to work for those who may not be as tech savvy. For a project like this to succeed, it just needs to be really simple. It is a bit more work on our end but it is totally worth it to help our senior citizens retain their independence. We think it's so easy, in fact, that anyone can use it (really!), and we can't wait to see it go live,” Mr Cooper said.

As the Age-friendly project is due to end in December, Council has been in discussions with community partners to ensure the project is sustainable and continues. Mansfield Adult Continuing Education (MACE) CEO, Kylie Richards said MACE will continue with the project.

“This is a great community initiative. The project is a committed community project that creates opportunities for people to enrich their lives through remaining connected and making connections they might not otherwise make. It is a perfect fit for us as a community Neighbourhood House. We are looking forward to continuing with this project , as part of our commitment to our local community,” Ms Richards said.

If you are interested in volunteering to be part of the MSOAST program, please contact Council’s Age Friendly Project Coordinator, Bianca Hurle on 57758563 or email bianca.hurle@mansfield.vic.gov.au for more information or to have an expression of interest form sent to you.

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Last Updated: Friday, 13 November, 2020 - 12:27