CONNECTING residents with their local community will be just one of the many benefits to come from Mercy Place Ballarat receiving a bus.
It is a lovely first birthday present for the residents at the aged care facility, which recently celebrated its first birthday.
Sister Angela Caine and Raymond Shackleton are two of the very excited residents who will now have more opportunities to get out and about.
Sister Angela was busy selling jam and pickles at the facility's open day on Saturday, raising more than $1100 to buy fuel for the van so residents can go out on their first outing.
"They all went like hot cakes," she said.
The van was purchased with funds raised by the community as well as by a generous donation from the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat Foundation.
Sister Angela said she was really looking forward to being able to go out on trips with her fellow residents and that it would also be an opportunity to meet people she does not usually socialise with.
"It will be really nice to get a change of scenery and some fresh air," she said.
Sister Angela is looking forward to going on trips to Lake Wendouree or picnics in Daylesford and Creswick while Mr Shackleton is looking forward to a trip to Buninyong.
The arrival of the van comes just in time for the pleasant Spring weather, with residents keen to go to the Ballarat Begonia Festival and Spring Fest.
Other residents have expressed a desire to simply go for a drive through Ballarat while others wish to visit Bridge Mall, go trout fishing or to see the Christmas lights later this year..
Mr Shackleton said he no longer owned a car so it would be nice to get out and about more often.
"I am excited for it. It's something we can look forward to," he said.
Mercy Place Ballarat General Manager Andrew Howard thanked the community and the Diocese for its support and said having its own bus would mean residents would be more connected to their local community.
"We will use the bus to transport our residents to social outings," he said.
It means our residents can be more connected to and feel like a greater part of the community. Connectedness is really important for people living in aged care homes, and is something we place a great deal of emphasis on.General manager Andrew Howard
The aged care home, designed to accommodate people living with dementia and restricted mobility, is modelled on small households, with a maximum of eight residents living together in a household with their own kitchen, lounge area and individual ensuite bathrooms.
Residents living with dementia are not secluded in one part of the facility, instead, they live with the other residents.
"This innovative approach to aged care living promotes connectedness, independence, choice and relationships. It also helps to create a real feeling of home," Mr Howard said.
Mercy Place Ballarat also boasts a village square, a grocer, a café, wellness centre and chapel.
The van seats 11 people with room for at least one wheelchair.
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