Gforce supporting Ballarat Soup Bus with a $5000 Donation
A new Soup Bus will feed more vulnerable Ballarat residents.
CDC has announced it will donate a retired bus to the OnTrack Foundation, which operates the Ballarat institution.
Bus founder Craig Schepis said they might now return to the original goal of operating in areas like Wendouree and Delacombe.
“Eight years ago, when I first started the first one, the plan was to do two nights in the CBD, and one night in outlying areas that need help,” he said.
Mr Schepis said CDC Ballarat would donate the bus, and they were still working out whether it would replace the current bus and increase the capacity or become a new Soup Bus entirely.
The demand keeps growing, Mr Schepis said, with an average of 55 people a night coming to get a food or help with shelter.
“From Christmas to the end of March, numbers tend to decline to the high teens to early 20s (people coming every night), but that hasn’t happened as much this year,” he said.
“It’s a huge concern. The urgency and the demand is only becoming greater.”
OnTrack will now put together a committee to work out the best way to use the new bus, with fitout costs estimated at $30,000 in supplies and labour.
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Gforce Employment Solutions is also helping out, and the new bus project will be part of their work for the dole program when it begins.
Mr Schepis said they already had offers of help from local tradies coming in and the Gforce contribution should mean the bus is up and running in much less time than the 18 months it took them to fit-out the current bus, which has run since 2009.
In a statement, Gforce's Ballarat work for the dole coordinator Jennyfer Allen said her son taking part in an OnTrack Foundation awareness event had led to her organisation contributing to the push for a new bus, which will be unveiled on Monday.
Mr Schepis said they were hoping Ballarat businesses and organisations could take part in the design and fit-out of the new bus so the whole community could take ownership of the project.