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KIDS Under Cover, the charity that provides studios for homeless or potentially homeless children, took delivery just before Christmas of an A5 Volkswagen Beetle (the one based on the VW Jetta) that will now be used as a promotional vehicle following a major restoration project undertaken by Manheim Auctions.

The new Beetle takes over from an original traditional VW Beetle, also yellow, which was worn out after years of promotional work for Kids Under Cover.

Kids Under Cover builds studios in the backyards of homes where family pressures and tensions can lead to young people leaving home and becoming homeless. 

The one and two bedroom studios, which cost between $75,000 and almost $100,000 each and are passed on to other families when no longer needed, are a circuit breaker that has proved to be effective in keeping young people within the family unit.

There are 100,000 homeless people in Victoria of which 25,000 are under the age of 21.

Kids Under Cover was founded by car dealer Ken Morgan and is supported by a Donate Your Car program where members of the public and car dealers donate cars which are auctioned by Manheim Australia and the proceeds passed on.

Manheim has managed the Donate Your Car program process for 16 years, raising more than $16 million for Kids Under Cover to expand its studio program and other work to prevent and end youth homelessness.

Kids Under Cover is now very close to housing nearly 1,000 young people each night in Victoria in our 660 one and two bedroom studios.

The head of fundraising for Kids Under Cover, Adam Walsh, told GoAutoNews Premium that Kids Under Cover had used a traditional VW Beetle for more than a decade as a company car and for promoting the Donate Your Car program at events like family days at kindergartens. Over time it was used less and then spent a lot of time promoting Kids Under Cover at the main entrance of the Manheim Auctions lanes in Altona.

(L-R) Stephen Nash, CEO, Kids Under Cover; Murray Naismith, Remarketing and Vehicle Solutions managing director, Cox Automotive Australia; Anthony Poci, national manager of Enterprise Partnerships, Cox Automotive Australia; Adam Walsh, head of fundraising, Kids Under Cover; Silvia Balovcikova, human resources director, Cox Automotive Australia.; Matt McAuley, director of strategy and marketing, Cox Automotive Australia.

“It’s not drivable anymore, the chassis is very rusted and old. Six months ago, we were given a Miami yellow Beetle (A5) in reasonable condition and we had the idea that we could potentially get that fixed up and have a sort of update of our Kids Under Cover operational vehicle and use it as a company pool car for external meetings and for visiting studio beneficiaries.

“It could be promoting Kids Under Cover and could really stand out wherever we are with QR codes and added logos put on it. 

“The donor agreed to allow us to buy the car at market value and Manheim agreed to fix it up for us. 

The restoration was coordinated by Manheim’s rectification team on site.

“Manheim took the whole thing apart and re-sprayed the panels. They made sure it was drivable and in good condition and got it a roadworthy certificate and arranged for some new decals and promotional stickers to be put on it, Mr Walsh said. 

Mr Walsh said: “The car now goes to external meetings and speaking engagements. Wherever we have some kind of presence out in the community the Beetle will go as well. We are also finding opportunities to place it in prominent positions at big events or anywhere that we might be able to draw attention to what Kids Under Cover does.

Anthony Poci, head of fleet, government, corporate and rental at Cox Automotive Australia, said: “Throughout my almost 14 years at Cox Automotive, Kids Under Cover has been something that all employees past and present have been proud to support. Handing over the Beetle and playing a part was one of the most memorable moments in my career.”

By John Mellor

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