Volunteers are needed for the Cleve Driver Reviver van

FANCY A CUPPA?: Annette and Kevin Elson enjoy their time offering 'cuppas' to travellers from the Driver Reviver van during long weekends and holidays.
FANCY A CUPPA?: Annette and Kevin Elson enjoy their time offering 'cuppas' to travellers from the Driver Reviver van during long weekends and holidays.

THE familiar site of the bright yellow Driver Reviver van at the corner of the Cleve turn off near Arno Bay, on the Lincoln Highway over holidays and long weekends, is under threat if its parent group, Rural Watch, cannot increase member numbers.

Volunteers Kevin and Annette Elson have spent many weekends meeting people through their work at the Driver Reviver van and highly recommend the experience and service. 

Mr Elson said the van prompted people to think about a break and a much needed rest when travelling long distances. 

“The large distances people travel on the Eyre Peninsula often means you have to go off road to have a break but this Driver Reviver is in a perfect spot; people can stretch their legs, go to the toilet and importantly, have a rest,” Mr Elson said. 

We need a few younger volunteers who can help shift the van and have fresh ideas

Kevin Elson

He said the van could service up to 50 cars on a long weekend and volunteers worked in two-hour shifts. 

“It is really interesting to chat with people from around Australian and all over the world and a two-hour shift is not a massive commitment,” Mr Elson said.

The van is set up on long weekends such as the Mortlock football carnival held in Port Lincoln, traditionally a busy weekend, with the van providing a cuppa and chat on the Friday, Saturday and Monday mornings. 

Mr Elson said the chance to promote the district was another enjoyable aspect of working in the van. 

“We promote our districts and encourage people to turn inland and see what we have to offer, we give them pamphlets and information provided by the council,” he said.

The van is used by the Cleve and Districts Road Safety Group, which is a subsidiary of Rural Watch, a group that has declining member numbers and Mr Elson said volunteers were getting older. 

“We need a few younger volunteers who can help shift the van and have fresh ideas.” 

Mr and Mrs Elson started volunteering with Rural Watch and the Driver Reviver van about 15 years ago. 

He said he would never know if it was true but he felt the van and its coffee and chat would have saved people’s lives over the years. 

“We always send people off with a ‘have a safe trip’ and if it has saved one life because it stopped someone from falling asleep, then I am happy for all the years we have put in,” Mr Elson said.