Perseverance pays off in getting special needs bus service launched


Richard Foo and his brother Chick. Picture: Jon Hewson
Richard Foo and his brother Chick. Picture: Jon Hewson

TEAM effort and perseverance were key ingredients that saw Richard Foo and his friend Gavin Sharpe successfully launch a bus service to transport scores of people with special needs to work.

The impetus for the new bus service was Mr Foo’s mentally impaired brother Chick Foo, 61, who lives in Langford with his elderly father.

Mr Foo said his brother was employed by not-for-profit disability service provider Activ Foundation.

Due to funding changes brought about by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, late last year Activ informed families with relatives employed by the service it was ceasing its transport service from 1 July 2017.

Mr Foo said families were asked to consider other means of transporting relatives employed in Activ workshops including car pooling, public transport and taxis.

The options put forward were not feasibility for many families he said, particularly due to work commitments and aging guardians and carers who didn’t drive.

Earlier this year, Mr Foo came up with a plan of putting on a single bus to help his brother and other Activ employees living close by to get to work.

Word got out and other families involved with Activ wanted to get onboard, he said.

“The phone calls came in thick and fast and I had to call in a friend to help.”

It was then he contacted Mr Sharpe, a friend of 25 years, and the duo set about making the bus service idea a reality.

Mr Foo said they contacted the Disability Services Commission and obtained funding assistance for the service.

And, this week Horizons West started the new bus service transporting Activ clients between their homes and workshops.

“If they hadn’t come on board it would have been almost an impossible task to get buses up and running,” Mr Foo said.

“We have on our books more than 160 people and we focus on the south of the river.”

Horizons West managing director Greg Balla said four bus routes had been established to transport Activ clients from as far south as Success to other southern Perth suburbs including East Victoria Park, Palmyra, Armadale and Auburn Grove.

“We were approached by Gavin and Richard to help. There was a real need to help these people get to work,” Mr Balla said.

For more information contact Richard or Gavin at info@flyck.com.au.

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