Y drive gears up for new learners

Eurobodalla 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 in our community obtain their licence.

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

Over the program’s three-year pilot, Y drive helped 36 learners get their Ps. It proved a life-changer for many, giving new-found 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.

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 was extremely rewarding.

“The fact 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.”

Council is looking for 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,” she said.

“We provide full support to help learners get their license. With our three cars located across the shire both mentors and learners can live anywhere in 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 Program & the Driver License Access Program.

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