Rickshaws are more commonly seen in Asia, yet Warrnambool could soon have some of its own.
A project which sees Emmanuel College students and community volunteers ferry aged-care residents around the city on custom-made trio bikes could soon become a reality.
The Cycling Without Age program will give Lyndoch Living and Mercy Place residents, many of who have not been on a bike for decades, the chance to feel the wind in their hair and form new friendships.
Emmanuel College VCAL co-ordinator Brendan Donahoo said if they were chosen as part of the Pick My Project funding initiative, the new bikes could be in the city by January.
“The project as it started in Denmark encourages the generosity of time,” he said. “For people to volunteer and be happy to share their time with people and to have a conversation. I think in this day and age it’s something we don’t do enough of.”
Mercy Place lifestyle and volunteer co-ordinator Bev Stutchbury said she saw the specially-designed bikes at an aged-care conference. “They’re really safe and stable,” she said.
The residents said they thought it was a great idea and would enjoy travelling on some of the city’s bike paths and the rail trail.
Mercy Place resident Colin Lee was supportive of the program. “They can ride from point A to point B and I can say ‘righto push. Faster,” he laughed.
Resident Yvonne Edey said it sounded like good fun, while Shirley Reekie said having involvement with the teenagers “keeps us feeling young”.
Student Wil Johnson said he liked the idea of getting the residents out and about and Fraser Williamson-Loft said it would be good to take them to places they may not otherwise be able to visit.
“It gets elderly people out of the homes and gets the wind in their hair. They’ve got something to look forward to,” student Hayden Prout said.
They are hopeful of receiving funding through Pick My Project, a state government initiative where the most popular projects as voted by the public, come to life.
The $30 million will be spread across nine regional areas and six metropolitan areas with each area to receive at least $1 million.
Residents have until September 17 to vote via the Pick My Project website for three projects of their choice, giving them the final say in which projects get funding.
Projects costing between $20,000 and $200,000 are eligible under the program.
To vote go to pickmyproject.vic.gov.au
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