Jamie Kelly has been an L2P Volunteer Mentor Driver since 2011 and has helped 11 young people get their drivers’ licence.
Jamie was in VicRoads with her youngest daughter when she saw a sign advertising for L2P volunteers. Having helped her own three kids achieve the required 120 hours of driving practice (including 20 hours at night), she knew how time consuming and difficult it can be to reach the target.
Jamie explains, “The program is open for young people aged 16 to 21 who would find it hard to get 120 hours’ of driving practice. It might be that their parents don’t drive or there are twins or even triplets in their family.”
All the drivers have to have seven driving lessons with a qualified instructor, to learn the basic skills before they can drive with our volunteers in a car supplied by VicRoads. The L2P program focuses on building the driver’s confidence and getting practice on quiet roads, in the city traffic and on freeways; we’re lucky in Nillumbik to have access to a range of roads.
Jamie has only experienced one accident when supervising a driver and luckily it was at low speed, so it only caused a dent in the VicRoads’ car and the driver’s pride.
“It really isn’t a dangerous experience, it’s actually a lot of fun getting to know the young people as you drive,” Jamie says. “It’s also rewarding as you see the drivers gain confidence over time. They use the VicRoads’ car when they take their test, so I wait at the test centre and celebrate or try and cheer them up after their test.”
Jamie has seen one of her ex-pupils out driving since passing his test. “He was in the correct lane and indicating, so that was good” she said. “But more than that, I knew that he was independent and able to travel to work or to see friends, because of the help I’d given him.”
Volunteer drivers are invited to meet up regularly. “It’s good to be able to chat with the other volunteer drivers about any issues a driver might be having and to share stories and support each other,” Jamie explains.
Volunteering as a Mentor Driver is a very flexible role, you can commit to as many students as you’d like and donate as many hours per week as you’re able.
Noel Sinclair has been volunteering with our Medical Transport program since August 2015. Noel was a chauffeur for 20 years, with his own private limo service and a taxi driver before that.
He lives in Kangaroo Ground with his wife, Shirley; they have two daughters, four granddaughters and two grandsons. Following Noel's retirement he found himself reading a ‘Volunteer Drivers Needed’ poster in a doctor’s surgery in Hurstbridge. He knew his skills and experience fitted perfectly with what Council needed. It wasn’t long before he was driving members of our community to medical appointments: doctors, hospitals, specialists or the physio.
Noel explains, “I am really proud to volunteer for Council and try to provide the best possible service to all my clients.” His car is meticulously clean and he always waits for clients to finish their appointment, ensuring they know where to meet him afterwards. The drive is often a social connection for the client; they might be lonely, nervous or in pain going to their appointment. “I try to put a smile on their face and relax them, make it a special day out,” he explains.
Noel gets to know the clients well and builds trusted relationships with them. His professionalism and dedication to customer service is admirable and we are extremely fortunate he volunteers his time to provide such a great service on our behalf.