After some teething problems, the voluntary transport service “People mobil Herzogenrath” is taking concrete shape. Crowdfunding for seed capital runs until January 22nd.
The “People Mobil Herzogenrath” association was founded in May 2022. Now chairwoman Heidi Klemm is confident that the first trips for people with walking disabilities from Herzogenrath can be offered at the beginning of 2024. “The beginning was a bit bumpy, but now we are almost on the finish line,” she explains in an interview with our newspaper.
That means: The money for the purchase of a nine-seater has been approved, delivery has been promised for the next few weeks, and the conversion is being planned. Seven volunteer drivers were also found. Now only a few thousand euros are left for insurance and the initial maintenance of the vehicle.
The idea actually sounded quite simple a year ago: Old people who are no longer able to walk so well and whose wallets don’t allow taxi rides all the time should be able to continue to participate in society. They should be able to go to the market, attend the coffee group at the AWO, or listen to the VdK’s lecture on living wills, even if they can no longer make it to the bus.
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A volunteer-organized transport service was intended to connect people between the various districts of Herzogenrath
Donations and funding should be collected to purchase the necessary Multivan and its conversion. The operating costs are covered by the users’ memberships. Only members who enjoy free travel except for their monthly membership fee of ten euros are eligible for travel.
“Finding members when there is no transport service yet was difficult. We have distributed many applications, but we currently only have around 20 members. “Most people want to wait until they can take advantage of the offer,” Klemm reported of the target group’s reluctance. “There are few foundations or institutions that finance senior projects. Most have specialized in youth and culture,” Klemm continued.
The application to “Aktion Mensch” was ultimately successful, which granted “People mobil Herzogenrath” €52,000, which could be used to order a new car. The money can also be used to pay for modifications to ensure the safe transport of wheelchair users.
However, the approval only came after six months and some revisions. The social organization emphasized that age was not the deciding factor for membership. Every immobile person should be able to benefit from the transport service. “We have no problem with that and have changed our statutes accordingly,” assured the chairwoman.
So now there isn’t much left to gain your first experiences. “We have to see when people want to go where. That will then emerge from the registrations,” said Klemm.
Until the car is actually ready for operation, a little more money will be raised through a crowdfunding campaign by VR Bank. “Every euro donated is doubled by the bank. Hopefully, we will get another €6,000 as starting capital for insurance and maintaining the car,” said Klemm. The crowdfunding runs until January 22nd.
And if volunteer drivers come forward – a normal car driving license is enough – the team at “menschen mobil Herzogenrath” will also be happy. “The more we are, the more trips we can offer,” explained Klemm.
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First published in Aachener Zeitung. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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