Trans-Help on its knees as funds dry up

Driver support initiative Trans-Help is close to breaking point, as funds dry up and industry declines to help

Trans-Help on its knees as funds dry up
Trans-Help on its knees as funds dry up
By Brad Gardner | July 9, 2010

Charity group Trans-Help Foundation is close to breaking point, as funds dry up and industry declines to help the driver support program.

Trans-Help’s van that is used to counsel distressed drivers and conduct free health checks is due to be returned to manufacturer Iveco after a two-year loan expired on June 30.

Trans-Help founder and CEO Dianne Carroll says she has raised $7,000 through community contributions to try and keep the van going but there is still a $17,800 shortfall.

Carroll says Iveco provided the van for two years free of charge and paid registration costs while also contributing $14,000. It has offered a replacement vehicle, but Carroll says it will cost too much to fit the new van.

She turned to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) for financial support but says she was turned away on the basis Iveco is not a sponsor of the group.

"This is not about Iveco it is about supporting our truck drivers and their families," Carroll says.

"Where is the ATA’s duty of care for the health, safety and wellbeing of the drivers…it would seem their sponsors are more important to them."

ATN contacted the ATA for comment, which responded: "The ATA did not wish to comment on the Trans-Help release."

Carroll says a major transport company also turned her plea for assistance down, saying it was not in a position to support Trans-Help.

The news of Trans-Help’s financial problems comes amid a rise in demand for its services.

"The need for our services is increasing. To date the van has done over 4000 preventative health over the last two years," Carroll says.

Carroll says Trans-Help is currently dealing with a driver and his wife who witnessed a suicide and helping a driver who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Carroll says the health and support van is also assisting a depressed driver and helping another fight for work entitlements.

"The ATA are out there putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into their Road Ahead program trying to convince people that it is a good industry to seek a career in, yet they fail to assist us in addressing the health, wellbeing and safety of the ones in the industry," she says.

The van service began in 2008 to help drivers who do not have time to visit a doctor for health check-ups. It tests blood pressure, weight, height and glucose and cholesterol levels.

Trans-Help eventually partnered with depression awareness group BeyondBlue to help drivers suffering from mental illness. Tests are carried out by volunteer nurses, while a counsellor is also provided.

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