Pictured at Lagan Valley lsland with the Carers Forum Petition to save the Gateway Buses that provide transport for adults with a learning disability to the Gateway Club in Lisburn are: (front row left to right) the Right Worshipful the Mayor, Alderman Paul Porter signing the Petition and Councillor William Leathem, Chairman of the Council's Corporate Services Committee. (Back row left to right) Cheryl Wiseman, Gateway Club Volunteer, Eric Nicholson, Gateway Volunteer, Councillor Jonathan Craig, Valerie Martin, Carers Forum and Anne Blake, Carers Forum.
THE Mayor, Alderman Paul Porter and Chairman of the Council's Corporate Services Committee, Councillor William Leathem, have given their support to Lisburn Gateway Club and the Carers Forum in their campaign to save the buses to the Gateway Club.
Following reports of a number of possible financial cuts in transportation services by the South Eastern Trust, a petition has been launched by the Carers Forum in the city to Save the Gateway Buses, which provide transport for adults with learning disabilities to and from the club at Lisburn Assessment and Resource Centre in Wallace Avenue.
Signing the Petition, Mr Porter said: "My plea to the people of Lisburn is to please join with us and show your support to save the vital Gateway Buses. The Gateway Buses are very often the only way for adults with learning disabilities to get to the Gateway Club and this transport and the Club have been operational for 40 years.
"The management and volunteers of the Gateway Club then arrange for social interaction, support' activities and hobbies for the adults with learning disabilities. These people rely on the buses to see and meet other people and users range in age from young adults to senior citizens. They desperately need the buses to be retained. It is totally unfair in my view to take the buses away from them."
Mr Leathem added: "This is an emotive issue' and for parents and carers of vulnerable adults the Gateway buses are essential. I commend the Carers Forum with the launch of its Petition and echo the Mayor's plea for people to rally round and show their support.
"A signature on the petition takes a few seconds and may help to ensure many Gateway Buses users continue to be provided with several hours of activities each week; and vital contact with the outside world and their friendships built up over the years." Anne Blake from the Carers Forum also urged people to support the campaign. 'The vulnerable in our City must have their voice heard," she said. "The buses make such a difference to aduites with a learning disability in so many ways. I appeal to the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. Do not take the three buses away. Do not take away this vital service.
"Please sign this petition. It is currently being circulated around the city centre's retailers and is available in Lisburn City Council facilities; the Island Civic Centre' the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex' the Bridge Community Centre and the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. We are happy to provide groups with petitions if they can help us to collect signatures."