Transport society gets new funding
AMHERST – Cash is life for charities. A grant of $20,000 from the provincial government will make a significant difference to one local not-for-profit.
“That was sweet,” said Susan Belliveau of receiving the news.
The manager of Cumberland County Transportation Services Society said they applied for the funding. The province granted more than $900,000 to 28 groups across Nova Scotia.
The money will be used to hire a second paid driver. The society has one paid driver currently. The rest of their driving needs are supplied by volunteers whose availability varies. Without a second paid driver, some trips can’t be made.
“It (happens) often,” said Belliveau. “More than a couple times a week.”
The selection committee must have recognized how hard it is to find volunteers, according to the manager, who’s also the lone dispatcher.
The level of need for the service – which offers subsidized transit to people facing barriers, such as physical, mental or financial limitations – will be more clear in the coming months, as a new driver starts work. A candidate has not been selected yet.
“That process is ongoing,” said the manager.
Belliveau said their clients have vulnerabilities.
“There needs to be a sensitivity…it’s important to have a driver that understands that.”
The grant will be used for the driver’s salary, while increased vehicle use costs and fuel expenses will tap other CCTS resources.
“We’re holding our own, for sure,” she said, when asked about the society’s financial state.
Overhead is huge, according to Belliveau, and their fleet of vehicles is aging. At least one vehicle will need to be replaced.
“We’ll be seeking funding (for that),” she said.
According to Belliveau, there are government dollars available to subsidize a purchase. A new accessible minivan, for example, runs about $50,000, said the manager.
The society currently offers service from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The new driver will start in an hourly position until the level of service required is determined.
In a press release about Nova Scotia Moves Sustainable Transportation Program grants, Energy Minister Charlie Parker said easier sustainable transportation is a priority.
“…It’s wonderful to be able to work with community groups to roll out projects that will improve so many people’s lives,” he said.