A new Klease on life for Wheelchair Project

Hard-wearing utility vehicles are rolling out of the old Reef City Ford showroom again, but it’s not a new model Ranger.

Designed with resilience in mind and beautifully painted by talented local artists, these magnificent machines are destined for the overseas market.

It’s not a recent design – they’ve been manufactured for the last twenty years – this unique ride is called the “B2W” and thanks to the Rotary Club of Gladstone Sunrise, all the customers who need one get one free.

Sunrise’s Bikes to Wheelchairs project had the use of a workshop in South Trees (donated by Len and Sue Smith) for the past 18 months. Following the recent sale of these premises, Greg Klease, owner of the former Reef City Ford site offered club members the use of the well-known South Gladstone showroom which has stood empty since 2016.

The B2W volunteers build basic, robust wheelchairs, some parts of which are sourced from discarded bikes donated by the Gladstone Regional Council from regional refuse transfer stations.

The wheelchairs are then shipped overseas to developing countries including Fiji and Timor Leste with Australian freight giant TOLL picking up the bill.

“It is important to understand that all donated money goes towards building wheelchairs,” project manager Graeme Bartlett said. “Not one cent goes to administration or labour. All Rotarians and friends of Rotary are unpaid volunteers.”

“Another thing that is essential to the success of this project is a secure workplace. Without the support of benefactors like Len and Sue Smith and Greg and Leonie Klease, there would be no project,” he said.