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Driving change

L2P volunteer John. Image courtesy L2P
L2P volunteer John.
Image courtesy L2P


When John took an early retirement from the corporate world in 2009 he travelled extensively including a cycling trip to Europe and a motorcycle trip to Queensland but after 18 months of freedom he was ready to bring some structure back into his life.

Opportunity knocks

A neighbour fortuitously knocked on his door asking if he would be willing to help out as a volunteer driver with the community transport service South Port Day Links (SPDL) —five years later John is still driving with SPDL but has since expanded his volunteer driving role to act as a driver mentor for the L2P program.
He divides his time between the two programs —with a half day a week for SPDL and has so far supported four young people to gain their P plates through the L2P program.
John grew up on a farm in Western Victoria in a small settlement between Portland and Port Fairy at Tyrendarra East where he learned to drive. He trained and worked as a commercial interior designer then in the related area of audio visual design.

Going green

John made a conscious decision to ‘retire’ his car when he began retirement but not his passion for driving. He has since joined an innovative car-share program for personal use—complemented by his regular shifts driving for SPDL which has fostered his love of driving and giving back to the broader community.

South Port Day Links

A typical shift with DayLinks involves providing a specialised community transport service around the City of Port Phillip for elderly, frail and disabled members of the community to attend appointments, shopping or visiting friends or social clubs.

After 25 years living in Port Melbourne, John considered himself to have a reasonable level of local knowledge but joining the drivers of South Port Day Links has given him a different perspective.

Clients often share stories of earlier days and happenings in the streets of Port Melbourne which has provided John with a stronger sense of local history and he has learned much about the availability of health services and the range of social clubs and activities.

“South Port Day Links has been immensely rewarding. People say to me; ‘ I wouldn’t get out of home if I didn’t have this service.’”

John has completed disability training and cultural awareness as part of the program.

“It’s a small thing that an able-bodied person can do to make a difference in their lives.”


Word of mouth inspired John to join the ranks of the L2P program when a family member and a friend became volunteer driver mentors in different regions. John found out about the challenges faced by disadvantaged young people in gaining enough hours (120 hours required) of supervised driving to be eligible to gain their P plates.
The program involves supervising young people and completing a log book of hours after they have completed professional lessons. They meet at a police station where the cars are parked and drive around the local streets. John describes it as a process of developing trust for both parties but it’s rewarding when a young person feels confident enough to gain their licence.

Taste of freedom

And as for John, he began his retirement with a quest for freedom through travel but has since found that he is able to give others a little piece of freedom through independence to enjoy visiting friends, shopping or attending appointments or in gaining a driver’s licence.

Get involved in South Port Day Links

To join South Port Day Links as a volunteer driver, contact Mary Kehoe at  or call 03 9646 6362.

The organisation offers a range of other volunteer programs to promote social inclusion in addition to DayLinks including GardenMates, WalkMates and PetLinks, complemented by an information service InfoLink.

Get involved in L2P

To join L2P as a volunteer driver mentor within the City of Port Phillip visit the Melbourne City Mission or call 03 9534 3685.
The L2P program is offered in 62 places across Victoria, visit VicRoads to find a program in your region.


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