Disabled residents of a care home who had their minibus callously stolen are back on the road with a new set of wheels.
Residents and staff at Rough Lee Home , in Accrington, were left horrified in November 2015 when they found their specially adapted minibus had been stolen.
But thanks to a fundraising drive, they have managed to invest in a new bus to bring back the residents’ freedom.
Senior deputy manager, Wendy Hargreaves said the Rough Lee Home residents are thrilled with their new wheels.
She said: “The residents absolutely love it. They’re over the moon.
“The bus has helped so much. It’s meant we have been able to take three residents, two other carers and the manager for an activities weekend in Cumbria. And residents have also had a day out at the Trafford Centre which they loved, they had a great time.”
The home, run by charity The Alex Group, cares for 14 severely physically disabled adults aged between 18 and 65 years old. The previous bus was stolen from outside the home, just two months after it had been bought.
Wendy said: “The theft was absolutely awful because you don’t come across those things all the time and they are such an asset to the home and the residents.
“At the time of the theft the residents felt very distressed. We had such a nice thing and then somebody just took it from us and took it from the residents themselves.”
The theft also had financial implications for the home, as although the insurance could pay for a new bus - the home had to raise another £8,000 to invest in special modifications to make it usable for the residents.
Wendy added that they remain nervous about the new bus.
She said: “We’re still on tenterhooks but we have upgraded our CCTV cameras and upgraded our locks on the van. It’s so nice to have one back at the home.”
Home manager Andrea Buckley is also delighted.
She said: “We would like to thank the Rotary club who contributed towards funding some of the trip to Calvert Trust in Cumbria , as without their support the residents would not have been able to go.”
Rough Lee Home is now working towards its next fundraiser in August, and is also searching to find a new patron to succeed Accrington actress Julie Hesmondhalgh .