10 March 2021

'Y drive' gears up for new learners in the Eurobodalla

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Y drive volunteer mentors Tom Wilson, Greg Lee, Ray Carnall, Kelly Tooley, Roger McMillan and David Simcoe, and Y drive project officer Annette Greer.

From left: ‘Y drive’ volunteer mentors Greg Lee, Ray Carnall, Kelly Tooley, Roger McMillan and David Simcoe, and ‘Y drive’ project officer Annette Greer, who are ready to help more learner drivers get their licence. Photo: Supplied.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s innovative ‘Y drive’ program is back on the road, and the search is on for more volunteers willing to help disadvantaged learner drivers get their licence.

‘Y drive’ matches learner drivers who lack access to a vehicle or a qualified driver with a car to volunteer mentors to help them get the 120 hours’ driving experience needed to qualify for their P1 licence.

During the program’s initial three-year pilot, ‘Y drive’ helped 36 learners get their P-plates. It proved a life-changer for many people, giving newfound independence, increased job and social opportunities, and the ability to help their families.

Now funded for a further five years, ‘Y drive’ has three vehicles for learners to drive, and also provides lessons for learners before they start, access to a safe driving course and car maintenance and budgeting workshops, and training for mentors.

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Volunteer mentors need to be fully licensed, with a good driving history, and available for two to four hours per week to help learners gain on-road experience in different conditions.

Former volunteer mentor Annette Greer is now running the project, and said the feeling of helping someone get their independence when they couldn’t otherwise do so is extremely rewarding.

“The fact that nine of our original mentors are continuing on with this program is a real testament to its success,” she said.

“We find everyone comes out richer from the ‘Y drive’ experience – mentors often gain just as much as the learners, and both broaden their connections within the community.

“If you have experience in teaching a learner to drive, bags of patience and a positive attitude, we would love to hear from you as a potential mentor.”

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Council is seeking more learners to join the program, too, with funding for 25 places.

“There are lots of people in our community who don’t have access to a car to learn in, or a licensed family member to teach them, or both,” said Ms Greer.

“We provide full support to help learners get their licence. With our three cars located across the shire, both mentors and learners can live anywhere in the Eurobodalla, from Durras to Wallaga Lake.

“The application process is easy – just head to council’s website and fill out the online form to get started.”

‘Y drive’ is a joint initiative of Eurobodalla Shire Council and the NSW Government, proudly funded by the Stronger Country Communities Fund and the Driver Licensing Access Program.

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