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Friendly yellow vans plan for the future


Sunshine Service transports the elderly and disabled to medical and dental appointments, recreational and social activities. It is a lifeline to the people that use it, many of whom would be housebound without the friendly door-to-door service.

Their fleet of four purpose built vehicles, which have hydraulic hoists and can carry two wheelchairs, have friendly and helpful volunteer drivers and assistants who take extra care when helping clients in to the vans.

Unique to Gisborne, the small community organisation relies on grants, donations and a small charge to clients to keep running. To help secure the transport service for the future they have established the Sunshine Service Endowment Fund at The Sunrise Foundation (Sunrise).

Run predominantly by volunteers with only one part time paid employee, Barbara Clarke, Sunshine Service Chair, says they don’t have the time or resources to do fundraising campaigns.

“Our workers are our workers they can’t be our fundraisers as well. We have to go through other avenues.”

They started the fund with money being held in reserve from when the Sunny Day Trust was wound up. Barbara added that although they had managed not to use the funds so far, they were looking for “a safe way to secure the funds”.

“Putting them in Sunrise was a better option than leaving them in the bank where they could be eaten away at.”

Dave Mettrick, Sunshine Service Secretary/Treasurer, says they occasionally get the odd bequest.

“We are hoping our new endowment fund will encourage more of our clients and their families to give back to Sunshine Service safe in the knowledge of where their donation will go.”

A wide range of voluntary groups such as Age Concern, Alzheimers Gisborne, Arohaina Resource Centre, Foundation for the Blind, Idea Services, Vanessa Lowndes Centre, rest homes and various day-care centres depend on the Sunshine Service to transport members to and from meetings and activities.

All donations to Sunshine Service Endowment Fund are invested, protected and grown to keep up with inflation and protect them from future market fluctuations. The surplus investment income will be returned to Sunshine Service each year, forever.

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