Drive to help will stall without funds

ORGANISERS of a program helping new international arrivals obtain their driver’s licence have appealed to the public for help to ensure it isn’t permanently parked. 

The Let’s Drive program has helped more than 100 people from a range of cultural backgrounds obtain their driver’s licence but a potential funding shortfall may see the engine permanently turned off. 

Program organiser Robert Fleming said the program started when Father Laurie O’Toole asked him to help a Sudanese man get his driver’s licence. 

“I helped out a few others, and it was proving very successful,” he said. 

“From there, Community Connections picked up the program and we had a car donated which was fitted with dual controls. 

“When Community Conn-ections folded, Oz Child took it on but they couldn’t secure the funding to keep it running, or to keep the car on the road.”

He said instead of letting the program slip away, a small group of volunteers had come together to try and keep it running. 

“We had a donation of $2000 to help us buy a new car, which will be on the road in the coming days,” Mr Fleming said.

“Beyond that there isn’t much funding to help fund the expenses. 

“We are hoping a local business or community group might come on board and help us out, to keep this important program running.” 

Mr Fleming said the program’s organisers try to keep the cost to participants as low as possible. 

“Because some of the people have come from less developed countries, they need a lot more time behind the wheel. So we try and keep the cost low so they can afford to keep coming back,” he said.

“We think the program is really important, especially in Warrnambool, where public transport is limited. 

“The program also has other impacts. The instructors develop friendships and help the participants with other skills.

“We had one man who didn’t know how to use his Eftpos card, so we taught him how to use that as well.” 

Mr Fleming said anyone who may be able to offer the group some assistance could call him on 5567 1034. 

“We really hope we can keep going, we see it as a highly important program,” he said. 

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