The small south-west town of Walpole is set to receive a community bus from Silverchain.

The Walpole community, through the Walpole Community Resource Centre, will be given Silverchain’s existing bus, to be used for various transports needs of the local community.

Silverchain will obtain another bus from its WA bus fleet, for exclusive use by its Walpole clients. It will be equipped with a mobility hoist.

Silverchain General Manager WA Richelle Baker said she was pleased that an agreement with the local Walpole community could be reached after some initial challenges in how best to meet the various local transport needs.

Ms Baker said the not-for-profit organisation had a long history of providing services in the Walpole area, with a focus on in-home care to its clients, particularly the elderly.

“Over time, it became clear there were competing needs for the single bus within the Walpole community,” Ms Baker said.

“While our focus was to provide client transport for activities that supported our in-home care services, we recognised that the local community also had other transport needs, such as travelling to other towns in the region, which fell outside the remit of the bus’s purpose.

“We have listened to the concerns expressed by members of the community and have undertaken to provide a bus to the community, to meet its general transport needs.

“With this new transport arrangement, I believe we can better serve our local Silverchain clients and deliver the best in-home health and aged care, as we have for more than 115 years across WA,” Ms Baker said.

Silverchain first obtained a bus in 2006 with the help of government grants for the priority use of regional health services activities. The local community also raised funds at the time, which were used towards building a garage to house the vehicle.

The bus, owned and operated by Silverchain, was then exchanged for a smaller bus in 2010 and the grants agreement lapsed in 2016.

While the bus was predominantly used for Silverchain’s client transport needs, the local community’s requirements for other transport needs grew for activities such as weddings and school holiday activities, as well as trips to other parts of the region.

Negotiations around the best possible resolution took place while the bus use was curtailed due to COVID restrictions.

It was resolved in June 2021 that Silverchain would give its existing bus to the Walpole Community Resource Centre this week. The additional bus, which will be for Silverchain clients, will begin operating at the same time.

As WA’s largest local health and aged care provider, Silverchain delivers expert in-home care to more than 64,000 aged clients across the state to help them stay independent in their homes. In the Great Southern region, this quality service is provided to 774 clients.

In Walpole, 24 clients are provided direct care regularly by 15 local staff members. This includes assistance with showering, dressing, administering medication, cleaning, transportation, shopping and providing company to the socially isolated.