A vital bus service which enables the elderly and people with disabilities in the Western Downs region to maintain their independence has been saved, with the local Freemasons championing a sizable philanthropic grant.
Murilla Masonic Lodge which turns 100 this month, was the driving force behind a $102,500 Significant Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to the Murilla Community Centre in Miles, allowing the organisation to replace one of its community buses, with a new wheelchair accessible Hiace bus and allow them to purchase a RAV4.
Murilla Community Centre Manager Cecily Brockhurst said their bus service is the only transport option for the aged and disabled in the area, and with one of the buses in constant need of repairs, the Centre was on the brink of scaling back the service.
“Approximately 100 people use this service every month to visit the Community Centre, to partake in social activities, to do their shopping and banking and to travel as far as Toowoomba for specialist appointments,” Cecily said.
“Therefore, had we not received this generous grant, at this time, our clients’ quality of life would have been severely impacted, especially because there is no taxi or public transport service in this region.”
“These new vehicles will allow us to provide continuity of support to the most vulnerable in our community, enabling them to access reliable, safe and fit-for-purpose transportation – we are so very grateful for this hand up,” she said.
Murilla Masonic Lodge representative Ted Gibbons said there is no better way to ring in their centenary celebrations.
“Over the last 100 years Murilla Lodge has taken an interest in supporting local causes, to help fulfil the needs of our community. We are elated that our push for this funding was a success,” Ted said.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said this grant had been provided on behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland.
“Empowering people to lead more independent lives is at the heart of what we do,” Gary said.
“Also, helping regional communities to meet the challenges of an aging population is one of our long-term charitable focuses.”
“We credit the local Freemasons for prioritising the quality of life of the elderly and people with disabilities in the Western Downs region and are particularly proud to provide this grant in Murilla Lodge’s centenary year,” he said.
Photo: Freemasons of the Western Downs region joined Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland for the handover of two new vehicles to the Murilla Community Centre in Miles.