Learner driver Tamara Walkerden, middle, is booked in for a licence test before Christmas thanks to the fantastic L2P program in Wonthaggi. Also pictured, from left to right, are mentors Alan Wilson and Mike Wellings, chair of Bass Coast Community Foundation Martin Keogh and L2P coordinator Veronica Dowman.
THE roar of the big V8 engines has gone, the smell of fuel is slowly dissipating across Bass Strait and the adrenalin charged fans have all returned to their everyday lives.
The Sargent Security Phillip Island 360 was run and won but the real winners are preparing to receive their prize.
Bass Coast Community Foundation volunteers were out in force over the race weekend collecting donations dedicated to the Bass Coast L2P program.
This program supports young learner drivers who, due to family or financial reasons, do not have access to a car and/or a supervising driver.
They are matched with a mentor who helps them gain the mandatory 120 hours driving practice required to qualify for their probationary licence.
The program is managed by Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre at Mitchell House in partnership with the Bass Coast Shire and VicRoads.
It was first launched in 2006/07 designed specifically for new Sudanese residents.
This ground breaking program has since been modified for 16 to 21 year old learner drivers and implemented in over 60 regions across Victoria.
Research has shown that young drivers who have completed the 120 hours driving experience are 37 per cent less likely to be subject to serious crash injury in their first 12 months as a licenced driver.
The program coordinator, Veronica Dowman, said there are two program cars operating from Wonthaggi, but there is a need for an additional car to support the youth in the Waterline and Phillip Island areas.
“TAC funds us for 25 learner drivers but we currently have 28 with an additional 14 on the waiting list.
“With another program car and further support we could meet the needs of more young people,” Veronica said.
“The program relies on the generosity of volunteer mentors who are trained to assist in this very specific program.
“With another vehicle available we are seeking new mentors to be trained in February.
“Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer mentor should contact me at Mitchell House.
“The training is provided free of charge by VicRoads and our supervising drivers find their mentor role personally rewarding and worthwhile”
Foundation chairman, Martin Keogh, said the board has committed to match the funds raised over the race weekend, to ensure the total will sufficiently meet the costs of the purchase of a new vehicle.
“The Bass Coast L2P program offers a fabulous service, supporting our youth during this incredibly important time in their driving careers. Our community foundation is all about creating opportunities for those in need.
“We commend the Bass Coast L2P for their vision and commitment to the youth of the region.”
Anyone wanting more information about the Bass Coast L2P program is encouraged to phone Veronica Dowman at Mitchell House on 5672 3731, mobile number 0467 590 679.