Posted: 30.04.21 at 15:43 by Kurt Robson
A state of the art dementia-friendly minibus has been stolen from a Wandsworth charity that supports the isolated elderly.
Regenerate-RISE's minibus was stolen on the 17th April, just one week before they were due to open their centre after 13 months of being closed.
The minibus was going to bring a bubble of eight elderly people to the Battersea HQ before it was taken.
The one-of-a-kind bus was fitted with dementia-friendly installations to keep residents comfortable.
The minibus includes a special TV monitor reminding passengers where they are headed, pictures of staff to remind them what they look like, the activity of the day and a lunch menu.
All of the installations were fitted by volunteers working for the charity.
Mo Smith, Regenerate-RISE, told South West Londoner:
"It’s the first bus that I’ve ever heard about that is dementia-friendly in that way and we obviously spent a lot of time getting it ready for those people.
“If people have dementia it’s very hard getting into a minibus when you don’t know where you’re going.
“They loved their minibus, they really did.
“It was very familiar to them and it was part of the pleasure of the day to travel in it.
“To lose it at such a crucial time is devastating and it has such a ripple effect.
“It might only be a bus to the person who stole it but it means an awful lot to the people who usually use it.”
The charity has opened a JustGiving page for donations as the insurance company are only covering two-thirds of the minibus cost.
The minibus was discovered missing from Darfur Street in Putney at 5.30pm on Sunday 18 April.
It is understood that the minibus was spotted in Balham on the morning of Saturday 17 April.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the minibus should call the police on 101.
You can email the charity with any information at [email protected]