Several disabled people in Waterford were left without transport this week, after a wheelchair accessible van belonging to the local Centre for Independent Living was stolen and written off.
The navy Nissan Interstar van, which was stolen late on Thursday night from the grounds of St Patrick’s Hospital, was later used to ram a side door at Harvey Norman during a burglary.
The vehicle was discovered in a corn field between Kilcohan Park and the Tramore Road on Saturday night, completely written off.
Waterford Centre for Independent Living, based at St Patrick’s, will be severely impacted by the loss of the van, which is used to provide its wheelchair accessible door to door transport service called ‘Vantastic’.
The Centre had one such vehicle in the city and another in Dungarvan and people regularly use the service to get to college, training centres, hospital appointments and social activities.
The service operates five days a week and by request at evenings and weekends and the stolen van would often have been on the road from 7.30am until 6.30pm, according to the Centre’s John McDonald.
“The stolen van was eight years old – we’re now relying on an older van and just hoping that it will hold out and stay on the road,” he said.
The Waterford Centre had applied to the National Lottery for funding for a new van but was not successful in the June funding allocation. It is now on the list for the second lottery of funds in November.