Local volunteer driving program helps brake the cycle

Local volunteer driving program helps brake the cycle

Getting his P’s allowed Josh Whittingham to re-start his life.

The 19-year-old local said without the help of the Gladstone PCYC’s Braking the Cycle (BTC) Program he wouldn’t have been able to get his provisional licence at the end of last year.

“I didn’t have anyone to teach me, so without the BTC mentors I would still be unable to drive,” he said.

“The program has changed my life by helping me gain some independence.”

“I’m grateful to everyone who supported me and drove with me over the years and would like to encourage anyone in a position to mentor to do so as there are lots of people out there like me who don’t have family who can teach them how to drive.”

BTC is a volunteer driver mentor program, designed to support learner drivers without access to a supervisor or registered vehicle to complete their logbook hours.

Program Coordinator Lauren Coles said the BTC, which had been operating in Gladstone for over three years, had seen dozens of young people through to obtaining their provisional licence.

“Demand for the program is always increasing, so we need more volunteers,” she said.

“We have a waitlist of young people to join the program, so the more volunteers we have the more young people we can help.”

“With just an hour and a half a week, which is one driving lesson, we can change the lives of local youth like Josh.”

BTC volunteers receive online and practical training before they are placed with matched participants, and the driving hours are flexible to meet the mentor’s availability.

Lauren said the program was essential, especially in regional areas such as the Gladstone Region.

“With limited public transport, our young people are finding looking for work and holding a job, getting to places of study, and even everyday family life, very challenging,” she said.

“Being a regional town, having a licence is paramount to moving forward in life, and it isn’t just about getting in the 100 hours. The confidence and self-worth that these young people gain, and the skills they get through them being a program participant, helps to make them safer on the roads.”

If you are interested in becoming a driver mentor, or becoming a BTC participant, contact Lauren on btcgladstone@pcyc.org.au or call the PCYC Gladstone on 4972 3122