EastLink helps RTSSV reconnect with volunteers after pandemic lockdowns
EastLink has donated $10,000 to Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) to help RTSSV re-connect with the many volunteers who talk about their profoundly personal experiences in RTSSV road safety education programs.
Now that Victoria is returning to a sense of normality following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, EastLink is providing support to the local community during this transition.
This donation from EastLink will help RTSSV volunteers get the support, training, and assistance they need to re-engage with community road safety education.
In particular, the donation will directly enable:
- additional one-on-one support for each volunteer;
- storytelling and writing workshops to help volunteers feel comfortable ‘finding their voice’ when participating in RTSSV education programs and talking about their profoundly personal experiences; and
- an event to bring the RTSSV team, facilitators and volunteers together for the first time since the pandemic started to reconnect and support each other.
EastLink corporate affairs manager Doug Spencer-Roy said, “EastLink has supported RTSSV’s annual Shine a Light on Road Safety campaign since 2014."
"Now we are privileged to be able to help RTSSV and volunteers get back together again after the pandemic lockdowns so that they can create their ‘new normal’ for the essential road safety education programs that will continue to be delivered by RTSSV."
RTSSV CEO Bernadette Nugent (centre of the image) said, “We are incredibly grateful to EastLink for their generous donation. Our volunteers are an integral part of our organisation, and their personal stories are powerful and compelling. This funding will assist us in providing training so our personal speakers can reconnect with the community to help people understand why road safety is so important.”
If you have been affected directly or indirectly by a road incident and are seeking counselling assistance, please contact RTSSV by phone on 1300 367 797.
RTSSV volunteer speaker
My name is Lynda Pottage, and since 2019 I have been involved in Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV).
My son was killed in a crash in 2011, and at that time, I was unaware of RTSSV.
Moving forward, I noticed a post on Facebook and contacted my friend who knew a small amount of information about their services.
She suggested that I contact RTSSV directly, and after emailing the office, I received a phone call from Gillian, who is now my facilitator.
I have since started talking at the RTSSV Road Trauma Awareness Seminar programs about my experience and find that it gives me purpose and gives my son a voice. Even though delivering my talk brings up many feelings and sometimes sadness, I hope my message gets out to the participants.
I also talk about how this could happen to anyone as I know that many people think that losing a family member or friend would never happen to them. After hearing my story, I hope that the participants go home and reflect on how their choices as road users could affect not only themselves but also family, friends, and the greater community. I have recently spoken at some corporate events where I enjoyed talking to many different people from all walks of life. I watched and listened to the participants exchange their stories with their colleagues, where they may not have done so before. I felt proud to be part of RTSSV on that day and believe the seminar was well received.
After my talks, I also notice the change of mindset and body language with the participants, with many coming up after the seminar giving me a hug, handshake, or just offering their condolences to me. People often comment on how they don’t understand how I can stand in front of strangers and tell my story. This gives me great confidence by volunteering at these seminars, the message is getting across and once again gives my son a voice.
I include in my talks about how the ripple effect of road trauma has, not only an impact on the immediate family and friends, but also on the emergency services personnel. Talking about it has also given me a greater understanding and insight into what the ripple effect is. I was also greatly affected by it after the death of my son, not quite grasping what it was at the time.
I participated in the most recent Shine a Light on Road Safety walk, and it was a pleasure to join the many people for the walk and activities during the day at Albert Park Lake. It was an uplifting day to be with like-minded people who have also experienced loss and sadness. This event, I believe, is a great platform for RTSSV to raise awareness within the community while raising valuable funds.
Moving forward over the next twelve months or so, I would like to begin to share my story with teenage children at schools, clubs etc. For me personally, talking to this age group would give me gratification that the RTSSV message is being instilled at a critical stage of a young person’s life.
My message to all road users is to be aware of the consequences of not only your choices but of the others around you.
- Lynda Pottage, RTSSV volunteer speaker
RTSSV volunteer stories
The stories below are the personal experiences of people who have experienced road trauma. They share their stories in the hope of helping and supporting others and changing the attitudes and behaviours of road users.
These personal stories provide a first-hand look at road trauma and its ripple effect on the community.
“I made a fateful decision and one that would change my life forever when I decided to drive home. Alcohol had completely impaired my judgement and my ability to make the correct decision.”
“I feel very rewarded and proud of the RTSSV program and the effects I have seen it have on participants.”
“I am forever grateful to the expert and loving counsellors who assisted during this terrible time.”
“The shock of witnessing such a horrific scene and the death of the most important person in my life, and the images that go with it, have always been with me.”
“My name is Chris, and I am a mother of four children who have all been affected by road trauma.”
“We learnt to wear masks that said, “we’re OK” when we really weren’t.”
“I am learning to cut myself some slack these days and realise that courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”
“My role with RTSSV as the Regional Coordinator for the North West Metro Region commenced in May 2014.”
“I would also like to see a specific counselling service offered to people who lose a sibling in a road crash.”
“As a member of a CFA brigade that undertakes road rescue, I saw the importance of trying to push the road safety message out to the community.”
“For some, my story will challenge their beliefs, values and judgements. But for others, it’s the first time someone just understands.”
RTSSV presentation to EastLink operations and maintenance personnel:
Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) is a not-for-profit organisation contributing to the safety and wellbeing of road users.
RTSSV provides free, professional face-to-face, online and telephone counselling services across Victoria to people who have been affected directly or indirectly by a road incident, including; bereaved family members, witnesses, drivers, first-on-scene, emergency service personnel, families and friends.
RTSSV also delivers a range of education programs addressing the behaviours and attitudes of drivers to reduce the incidence of crashes, injuries and fatalities and the associated trauma and grief.
Trained facilitators deliver RTSSV education programs in conjunction with emergency service personnel and volunteers who talk about their personal experiences. The programs are aimed at community and youth groups, the business community, as well as offenders through the Magistrates’ and Children’s Court of Victoria.
The RTSSV head office is located in Blackburn, a short drive from the EastLink operations centre in Ringwood.