As Vitalise takes delivery of new accessible vehicles, search begins for new UK premises
National disability charity Vitalise has announced its intention to begin searching for potential premises for a new respite break centre in the UK, as it took delivery of a fleet of new accessible minibuses in Somerset in February.
The nine new minibuses were handed over to Vitalise CEO Chris Simmonds at a special ceremony in Martock, Somerset, on Friday 1 February.
The minibuses have been deployed to Vitalise’s three respite break centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport on Merseyside, where they will be used to transport the centres’ guests on accessible excursions to attractions and places of interest around the centres, as an integral part of their holiday experience.
The purchase of four of the minibuses by Vitalise was made possible thanks to a fundraiser hosted by Samantha Cameron in November last year. The purchase of the other five minibuses was made possible thanks to financing from Barclays Bank plc.
Vitalise CEO Chris Simmonds commented: “This year Vitalise celebrates its golden anniversary and, on behalf of the thousands of people with disabilities and carers that we support each year, I would like to thank Samantha Cameron and Barclays for the perfect birthday present.
“The buses will now be heading to our three respite holiday centres around the country, where they will enable us to give our guests the opportunity to experience the best this country has to offer and enjoy truly memorable and much-needed respite breaks
“After a lot of hard work we are now in a position to expand our network of accessible respite break centres and we have long dreamed of opening a new centre to enable us to support even more people with disabilities and carers.
“I would like to call on individuals, communities, organisations and companies to use their local knowledge to assist us in our quest and help make our dream a reality. We already support thousands of people with disabilities and carers in desperate need of support each year – help us support thousands more.”
The minibuses were adapted for accessibility by Red Kite Minibuses of Wimbourne, Dorset and fitted with wheelchair fastening systems by Unwins Safety Systems of Martock, Somerset.
Vitalise currently provides nearly 5,000 breaks each year for people with disabilities and carers at its three UK centres. The long-term ambition of the charity is to add further centres, so that no disabled person in Britain is more than two hours’ travelling time from a Vitalise centre.
Vitalise is a national charity providing accessible short respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers at three accessible UK centres located in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport. Each centre provides 24-hour nursing care on call and the personal support of volunteers, together with an inclusive programme of accessible excursions, activities and entertainment. Find out more at www.vitalise.org.uk.