For the past four years, the Gravelbourg Cares Shuttle Service (GCSS) has been providing community members of all ages with transportation to medical appointments in city centres. The shuttle service provides rides not only for the community of Gravelbourg but also for Assiniboia, Lafleche, Mossbank Kincaid, Hazenmore and Ponteix.
When the team at Hawk’s Agro heard about the Raise the Barn contest by WinField United Canada, they found this was the perfect opportunity to give back to the multiple communities they serve.
“We don't just deal in Gravelbourg, and that's what really jumped out to us about the shuttle service; it helps all the communities that support us because they all benefit from this service,” says Jordan Mann, Location Manager with Hawk’s Agro, Gravelbourg.
A case study for research on rural transportation needs, the Gravelbourg Cares Shuttle Service offers more than one avenue for impacting communities in Saskatchewan and beyond. The University of Saskatchewan is in the process of doing a study on this project, noting that there is only one other program in Canada that operates similarly.
Preliminary findings show that public transportation is a big hurdle when individuals are deciding to move into a rural community or deciding to stay within a rural community. Services like the GCSS allow people to move to or stay in these communities even without family or friends to bring them to medical appointments outside of town.
“We know this service makes a difference; if there are people that can't transport themselves to and from the city easily and they're faced with these situations where they have to be going for regular appointments whether it's cancer treatments or anything like that, they have to look at moving closer to where they can get the treatments. This service allows people to stay in the community,” shares Mann.
Created by community members in response to a lack of available public transportation, the GCSS is run and funded solely through volunteer work and donations. GCSS provides meaningful support to people of all ages.
“It's not limited to really any age group,” says Mann. “Our seniors, youth and families use the service. There are working parents with a single vehicle that commute. If the husband or wife has the vehicle when there are medical appointments, it can really cause stress for those families. Having this service available helps.”
GCSS hopes to continue growing and inspire other communities to come together and follow suit in providing transportation options to meet community needs.
As a regional winner of Raise the Barn, Hawk’s Agro and the Gravelbourg Cares Shuttle Service received $8,000. You can help them win an additional $20,000 towards their project by voting daily on the Raise the Barn website
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