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Toyota gives final Camrys to good causes

Thankful: Left to right – Annette Stephens from Latitude, Laverton Community Integrated Services CEO Michael Pernar, Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner, LINK Community Transport CEO Rick Lawford, Gateway Community Services general manager William Kelly.

Final four Camrys handed over to not-for-profit organisations in Melbourne’s west

Toyota logo10 Nov 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA Australia has donated four of the final examples of its Victorian-built Camry sedan to local community groups at an ceremony held at the Altona plant in Melbourne’s west today.

The four not-for-profit organisations work in areas including supporting homeless youth, senior citizens and people living with a disability, and each of them are based in the Hobsons Bay council which is home to the Altona factory that closed its doors last month after 54 years of manufacturing in Australia.

Outgoing Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner handed over the keys to the four Camrys today and said the company wanted to support organisations in the local area that help people in need.

“It is very important that beyond the closure of manufacturing, Toyota Australia gives back to the community and local area that we have called home for so many years,” he said.

“The donation of these vehicles, built by our dedicated workers here at Altona, will support these local organisations in providing essential services to some of the most in-need and vulnerable groups within the community.

“Toyota has a global commitment to mobility for all. From a local perspective, we know that these vehicles will go towards helping hundreds of people in the Hobsons Bay community achieve greater mobility and quality of life.” The handing over of the four Aussie-built cars follows last month’s announcement by the car-maker that it had set up the Toyota Community Trust, which was initiated through a $32 million endowment.

Toyota says the Trust would help young people in Melbourne’s western suburbs “realise their potential and leave a lasting legacy in the community following the company’s proud 54-year history of local manufacturing”.

Rhonda Collins from one of the four community groups, Latitude: Directions for Young People, which supports homeless young people in the west, said the donation represented more than just a car.

“So much of our work takes place in a car,” she said. “Our young people are so disengaged that if we don’t take them to where they need to be, they don’t go.

We are able to build rapport on a journey in a car, where eye contact is not necessary and the fear of judgement is removed. It’s a safe space and a key component in reconnecting our young people to the community.”

LINK Community Transport CEO Rick Lawford said donations like the Camry helped ensure people in need kept their independence.

“Our services address the scourge of accessibility and isolation issues in our community for aged, disabled and otherwise transport-vulnerable residents,” he said. “This vehicle will help facilitate people’s ability to maintain independence and/or to age gracefully in their homes, especially at a time when demand for our services far outstrips supply.”

Gateway Community Services general manager William Kelly said the addition of the Camry would assist many residents of the area.

“This Toyota Camry will greatly assist transporting some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged residents of Hobsons Bay,” he said.

Laverton Community Integrated Services CEO Michael Pernar added his appreciation.

“This car will allow our crisis intervention service workers to access clients that have mobility and transport issues,” he said. “It will also help facilitate our L2P program, where mentors assist 16-21 year olds in gaining their 120 driving hours in order for them to get their driver’s license.” Ford held a charity auction for some of the final examples of its Australian built cars, raising $353,000 for long-time charity partner Give Where You Live as well as funding the expansion and creation of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) programs at local high schools.

Last month Holden auctioned off a few of its last local cars for $307,00, but the company kicked in a additional $500,000 to The Smith Family’s Learning for Life sponsorship program.

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