August 11, 2015

Five EnergyAustralia Yallourn employees are gearing up for this year's Variety Bash road trip from Melbourne to Port Douglas, raising a record $36,600 for Variety the Children's Charity.

Leaving on Wednesday, August 12 to embark on their 10-day adventure, this is the third year a team from Yallourn has taken part.

This year's contribution brings the employees' donation total to $91,600.

The employees will join two crews of four, with each group travelling in either the 'Pink Panther' – a 1967 Holden HR Wagon - or 'Black Panther' – a 1985 Mercedes Benz 380 SEL - for the journey. 

Raffles, egg and bacon sandwich stalls and chocolate drives on site, alongside donations from contractor companies at Yallourn, and individual donations from employees across the company and others in the Latrobe Valley, make up this year's funding total.

Team members from Yallourn include Paul Koopmans, Trevor Allan, David Bloomfield, Mick Crowe and Ken Ballingall. Fellow Latrobe Valley locals Ree Graham, Nigel Bell and Ian Simpson make up the rest of the team.

Mr Koopmans, Yallourn Maintenance Manager, said the team was thrilled to have set a fundraising record, beating last year's $31,000 effort and $24,000 the year before.

"Every dollar we raise goes to Variety," Mr Koopmans said.

"Team members pay for the cars and all expenses during the trip. Latrobe Valley companies servicing EnergyAustralia Yallourn have supplied prizes for raffles and produce for the egg and bacon stall, on top of making significant donations towards this important cause.

"Variety provides vital services to many Australian children, helping improve their lifestyles by improving community facilities in the Latrobe Valley to better cater for these kids."

Variety's projects in Gippsland

Since 2013, Variety has injected more than $100,000 in funding to implement a range of facilities and initiatives across Gippsland including:

  • Sunshine Coaches for Youth for Christ Gippsland in Warragul, Woolum Bellum Campus in Morwell and Sale Specialist School in Sale, which transport children with disabilities to and from a range of activities and events.
  • Liberty Swings at Newman Park in Traralgon and Burke Street Park in Warragul, which allow children in wheelchairs to play on this equipment.
  • The Freedom program which provides equipment for children with intellectual or physical disabilities to interact with others in the classroom.
  • Outdoor learning area at Latrobe Special Development School in Traralgon, which caters for children with intellectual or physical disabilities.