U-Drive programme empowering Oxford’s youth, Waimakariri MP says

Waimakariri news
Thursday, August 27, 2015

 A youth driving programme in Oxford is netting big achievements, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey says.

Oxford Community Trust’s U-Drive programme has entered its second round and celebrated the milestone with a presentation to Minister for Small Business Craig Foss, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey and other stakeholders recently at the Oxford Town Hall.

Youth worker Julia Ealam said the first round saw seven youth participating. “Five have already passed their restricted licence, with the other two still to sit. The feedback we have had from students and parents has been extremely positive,” Ealam said.

One of the parents was so impressed she went on to become a mentor for the second round.

Fran said: “It is such a fantastic opportunity for our young people and my sons got so much out of it that I wanted to get involved and support the Oxford Community Trust to keep this programme going.”

Doocey said the programme was an example of communities finding solutions locally and he commended the Trust on the initiative.

“A Restricted Licence is often the first milestone achievement in a young adult’s life and obtaining this is empowering and boosts confidence,” Doocey said.

The competitive rental market in Christchurch following the earthquakes had resulted in some of Oxford’s young people choosing to remain living at home. Others who were living in Christchurch and using public transport had come back home, Ealam said. Young adults needed to get their licence to take up training or work opportunities in Christchurch but could be challenged in affording driving lessons or having access to an adult driver who could help them.

A number of mentor drivers have undergone police vetting and training with driving instructor Duncan Seed and spend an hour or more a week in 12 week blocks to give a young person who already holds a driver’s licence the opportunity to have driving practice.

Photo: From left: Minister for Small Business Craig Foss; Julia Ealam, co-ordinator of the Oxford Community Trust U-Drive programme; driving instructor Duncan Seed and Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey.