On Thursday 10 October 2019 the “FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE” project was presented at the cemetery of Bolzano and will be active starting from Saturday 12 October.
Conceived by the Podini Foundation Onlus and implemented in collaboration with the Municipality of Bolzano and the Malta Help.bz and Volontarius associations, the initiative is aimed at people with disabilities, the elderly or with serious walking problems who want to visit the graves of their loved ones.
To carry out the service, an electric golf car – with zero environmental impact – capable of carrying up to 5 people was purchased from the Bolzano foundation. The car will be equipped with some folding seats to allow the user to sit comfortably during his visit.
During the service hours there will be two people from the partner associations: a driver who will accompany the elderly person to the chosen area and will remain at their disposal or will agree on the pick-up time and a volunteer who will preside over the departure point.
The service will start from the main entrance and will be active on SATURDAY and SUNDAY at the following times: from 1 October 2019 to 29 February 2020: 10.00 – 16.00 (During Saints’ holidays the service will be increased).
Deputy Mayor Luis Walcher opened the press conference by stating that “many visitors have long been asking for help to reach the graves of their loved ones. Precisely for this reason, the idea of the Podini Foundation was immediately married to the needs of the community “.
For almost 10 years now – explains Stefano Podini – our Foundation has made a partial “return home”; after many years of exclusive aid abroad in countries with health and cultural deficits, we have decided to concentrate an important part of our efforts on the local area.
This specific project was born when our mother passed away. By attending the cemetery more often with our father Giancarlo, my brothers and I became aware of the extremely high number of elderly and disabled people who struggle to move, children who push their parents’ wheelchairs and the difficulties they face every day.
Stefano Podini then thanked the two Bolzano associations that will make it possible to guarantee the service throughout the year Volontarius and Malta Help.bz. Claude Rotelli – President of Volontarius – defined the FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE as a service of excellence, a spearhead hoping that “it can also be an example for other cities”. Hans Christoph von Höhenbühel – Delegate of the Order of Malta – underlined how this initiative is a “clear signal that in this city there are people who are here for others”.
At the end of the speeches, Canon Johannes Neusternigg flanked by Don Mario Gretter blessed the golf car and in particular all the people involved in the project, both volunteers and users. “It is a service that goes against the tendency to withdraw into oneself, especially in delicate moments like these”.