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MEMBERS of a Sippy Downs church have donated the use of their cars and petrol to help disadvantaged learner drivers amass the required 100 hours of practice driving needed to gain their P plates.

The ingenious and practical initiative, Drive 100 Hours, is hosted by the One Step Alliance charity, an arm of the Chancellor Park Community Church, and aims to help those who struggle through lack of family resources to qualify for a driver’s licence.

“Our Drive program helps young people gain the required hours on the Ls to help them toward employment and improve their self-esteem,” Pastor Graham Kell said.

The program emerged early this year from a brainstorming session by church members, who were searching for clever and practical ideas to help their community.

The Drive 100 Hours idea was born.

Members agreed to help the learners in their own cars – with petrol provided – and not charge the learners a thing.

“Difficult situations at home prevent many kids from getting the necessary hours behind the wheel while on their Ls,” Mr Kell said.

“Unemployment and unsafe driving is the sad and sometimes tragic result. While driving with these kids, we also get to know them and provide a certain degree of mentorship.

“We’re targeting a minimum of 35 young people for this coming year, ranging from students readying themselves for employment to long-term unemployed who have been disadvantaged by the lack of a licence.

“We’ll get most to 70 hours, and then work on accessing funds to attain the remaining 30.”

The initiative has attracted the attention of the Australian Government, which provided a grant to enable the hire of driving instructor Paul Eddison, the lease of a car for a year through Crick Auto Group, insurance and petrol.

“Centrelink lists the lack of licence as the number one problem to unemployment,” Mr Kell said.

To assist OneStep, phone Paul Eddison on 0412 813 358 or Graham Kell, 0412 508 777.

Story by Richard Bruinsma – Sunshine Coast Daily
Photo by: John McCutcheon. click here for full story

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