Kimba Red Cross vehicle returns

The Red Cross community vehicle recently removed from Kimba has been reinstated on a trial basis until the end of July.

The vehicle, which transports community members to medical and social appointments on a volunteer basis, was removed from the town earlier this year as part of a change in Red Cross funding models which saw five vehicles redistributed.

However following media attention which prompted a meeting between Kimba District Council representatives and Red Cross SA Director Mark Groote, the vehicle will now be returned within the month to give the community an opportunity to increase its usage.

Council chief executive officer Deb Larwood said after news spread of the loss of the vehicle, she heard from community members who were unaware of the services the vehicle provided.

"People just need to be aware that it's there," she said.

While transport to medical appointments is the main use of the vehicle, community members over the age of 65 or those otherwise limited in their transport options can ask for assistance attending social outings, visiting the shops or many other instances where travel is required.

Mayor Dean Johnson said the council was embarking on an awareness campaign on social media and through a letterbox drop to make sure the community was using the service as much as possible through the trial period.

"There was a lot of sadness in the community that it was taken away... everyone is ecstatic the service has been put back," he said.

Mr Groote said the Red Cross decided to return the vehicle after hearing from the council about the difficulty community members have in accessing health services in the town.

"The Mayor was able to outline in great detail the needs of the community," he said.

He said Red Cross would be assisting the council in efforts to increase use during the trial period and the organisation would like to see the vehicle in use more often than it was idle.

"We're going to work with council to let people know that it's there," he said.

"Any way we can support the Kimba community we will."

He said at the end of July the organisation would look at whether they would be able to justify keeping the vehicle in Kimba on a more permanent basis.

Mrs Larwood said the council was encouraging community members to consider volunteering as drivers to assist current volunteers with a potential increase in uptake.

"It doesn't have to be onerous, you can make as few or as many trips as you want," she said.

Community members wishing to use the service or volunteer as a driver can call the Port Lincoln Red Cross office on 1300 306 551..