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Port of Felixstowe helps local disabled community

(10 January 2001) Major sponsorship from the Port of Felixstowe has resulted in a new means of transport for people with impaired mobility in Felixstowe. With help from the Port, Felixstowe Area Community Transport Scheme (FACTS) have purchased a wheelchair-adapted MPV.

The Renault Kangoo car has a lowering suspension system, which means that a wheelchair bound person can be wheeled into it through the rear doors, whilst the front passenger seat also swivels to 180 degrees, to make access easier. The car can thus take two mobility-impaired people plus driver and an escort.

The car will be available for journeys of any length, and will not be restricted to the Felixstowe area, nor to the kinds of journey currently undertaken by the Scheme's Minibus, which is already a familiar sight in the town.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Port to commission the new vehicle Paul Davey, Port of Felixstowe Corporate Affairs Manager said: "FACTS provide an essential service to disabled people in Felixstowe. We live in a rural area where the availability of transport is of critical importance and without FACTS many people would remain effectively housebound. We are very happy to support them in their work."

The Chairman of FACTS, David Houseley, added: "This vehicle offers a significant extension of the service available to disabled people. We currently try to look after them with the Minibus service and through our Community Car Scheme, where drivers use their own cars, but up to now, people wanting to make a journey outside the area and who cannot easily get into an ordinary car, have had no transport service they can use."

The new vehicle cost 12,500, which has been covered by a major sponsorship by the Port of Felixstowe plus substantial donations from three local companies - Medite Shipping, Hanbury Davies Haulage, and MCP plc. Further significant sums have been given in memory of FACTS former Treasurer, Peter Reynolds, who died in September, and by the Felixstowe Lions Club. The car will be operated by volunteer drivers, as is the present minibus service, and it can be booked by telephoning Felixstowe 282857.