Strathcare, originally named The Strathearn Community Care Association, was formed in 1975 to coordinate the activities of various existing clubs as well as the promotion of services for older people. This umbrella style of organisation is still one of the underlying principles of Strathcare today. Some of the original activities and clubs still continue to this day, the WRVS (now the RVS) lunch club, the sunshine club (now the Friday Daybreak club) and the disabled club (now the Wednesday outings club). The Blind Group news tapes are now handled independently of Strathcare.
Originally there was no dedicated Strathcare bus for the specific purpose of transporting those with reduced mobility and an early goal of Strathcare was to procure such a vehicle and so the Strathcare Bus Appeal was launched. This appeal was supported by many local organisations and individuals and in particular the Crieff Round Table who raised almost six thousand pounds. This provided the green light to go ahead and Strathcare acquired a vehicle in 1980. Although far short of modern day requirements for transporting the less able, it gave sterling service over the ensuing years. In 1987 this bus was replaced by a second hand bus donated by BLESMA.
However with an ageing bus, the time to purchase a new one was pressing and so a major fundraising campaign was launched. This culminated on a grand scale with the Strathcare Gala in July 1990 in Taylor Park with pipe bands and parade, an opening ceremony hosted by celebrity singer Bill McCue, various events, stalls and amusements with an estimated 2,000 people turning out and raising almost £4,000. The target of £23,000 was well surpassed with funds totalling £28,000 and the first Bertie bus was delivered late in 1990. The conversion was carried out by coachbuilders in East Kilbride giving Strathcare its first new and purpose built bus with a tail lift and flexible seating. It was the first conversion of its kind in Scotland and facilitated via the Help the Aged community transport scheme.
1990 also saw Strathcare successfully registering as a charity.
The changing regulations, the high usage and changing needs meant that Bertie would have to be regularly replaced and in 1995 Bertie ’Too‘ was purchased for £32,000. In 2002 Bertie III was bought for £45,000 and in 2008 Bertie IV was bought for £54,000. Each of these purchases preceded by large fundraising efforts. In 2018, Bertie 5 was purchased for £70,000 from donations which is a great reflection of the popularity of Strathcare in our community.
Today Strathcare continues to be managed and operated entirely by volunteers through a committee group of trustees working with the club organisers in accordance with the Strathcare constitution. Its activities are supported by 15 drivers and 25 passenger assistants who are all volunteers too. Financial support is almost entirely by way of donations and fundraising.