News

New car a boon for L2P Program

By Benalla Ensign

Benalla’s highly successful L2P learner driver program will continue well into the future thanks to the acquisition of a new car.

The dual-control Corolla has been leased with the help of program sponsors Benalla Toyota, Winton Motor Raceway and the Benalla Auto-club.

The official unveiling, held last Wednesday, was well attended.

Four Benalla Rural City Councillors, three sponsors and a host of coordinators and steering committee members joined mentors and mentees in anticipation of the big reveal.

With the car hidden by a red cover Cr Scott Upston opened proceedings. He thanked sponsors and spoke of the hard work of the steering committee and the project coordinators.

‘‘We depend on community generosity to run this program,’’ Cr Upston said.

‘‘Without major sponsors we would not be able to deliver the hundreds of hours driving experience young people gain as part of this program.

‘‘It’s very important to commend our mentors who are here here today.’’

One of those mentors, Laurie Bouch, said he had put his hand up to help after reading about the program in The Ensign.

‘‘I thought it would be really interesting and a community service I could help with,’’ Mr Bouch said.

‘‘So I applied, was accepted, went to school and here I am. And it’s great to see all the people here today who make it work.

‘‘It’s extremely important to get help from an organisation like Benalla Toyota, for example, and their dealer principal as without them L2P probably wouldn’t happen.’’

VicRoads acting senior community program coordinator John Lockie was also present and spoke of the joy of being involved in the program before introducing L2P co-ordinator Charlene Ham.

‘‘Our learner drivers come from a diverse background,’’ Ms Ham said.

‘‘Some don’t live with a supervising driver, some don’t have access to a car.

‘‘Without L2P many of these young people would not have the opportunity to learn to drive.

‘‘We’re very excited to get a new vehicle. Its fantastic, the mentors and mentees are going to be really excited to be driving an almost brand-new car.’’

Since the program started in 2014 120 young people from in and around Benalla have had the opportunity to take part, and more than 60 have received their licence.

●If you wish to apply to become a mentor or know a young person who could benefit from L2P, visit www.benalla.vic.gov.au/Services/Youth-Services/L2P-Learner-Driver-Program