A NEW pedal-powered chauffeur is coming to the south-west for older people to feel the wind in their hair and strike up conversations with friendly volunteers.
The project is among dozens that received support this financial year from Moyne Shire Council's community grants program, recently green lighted by councillors.
Brendan Donahoo has brought the Cycling Without Age project to the region to make cycling accessible to people who might have lost the opportunity to explore their local surrounds on a bicycle.
From September volunteers will use two bikes to ride elderly residents of Moyne Health Services on bike paths around Port Fairy's Russell Clark Reserve, Ocean Drive, rail trail and wharf area.
"It's more than an outing," Mr Donahoo said. "It's really about connecting people with the environment and people they are doing the activity with."
There's room for two passengers aboard the three-wheel bikes called 'trishaws', which are pedaled by 'pilots'. The idea originated in Denmark in 2012 and has since spread worldwide, including to Geelong and Melbourne and now the south-west.
The project will also launch in Warrnambool around the same time when Emmanuel College students volunteer to taxi residents of Lyndoch Living and Mercy Place to nearby sights.
"Social isolation is a real issue, people in smaller communities sometimes move there because it's more affordable and the peace and quiet, but along with that comes a lack of access to services," Mr Donahoo said.
"When you go and visit a family member in an aged care facility sometimes it's about finding an activity to do and this adds another one for families."
The Port Fairy project received $15,000 from Moyne Shire, along with grants from several other groups.
Councillors unanimously granted 43 community projects and events a share of $278,306 at their July meeting, including ideas that ranged between upgrades at Laang Speedway to Christmas celebrations at Nullawarre and Mortlake.
Cr Daniel Meade highlighted that the projects were spread across the whole shire, while Cr Jim Doukas pointed out that people behind the projects had made significant cash and in-kind contributions themselves.
"Even though the dairy industry is finding the going tough, people are still putting their hands in their pocket and I think the community should be congratulated that they are still putting in," Cr Doukas said.
Cr Mick Wolfe said the budget for the grants had not been exhausted and the council would soon make a further $60,000 available for eligible community projects and events.
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