by Chris Tobin
Timaru’s Salvation Army is implementing a free driver mentoring programme in the city.
Driver hubs are also being established around the South Island in places including Ashburton, Rangiora, Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika.
Salvation Army drivers manager Keran Tserig said the programme was being expanded after it was a success in Christchurch, where it had helped 760 people gain either their restricted or full licences.
“Clients of the driver mentoring include young parents, youth without parental support, sole parents, at-risk young people and migrants and their partners.
“As well as employment opportunities, having a driving licence also reduces isolation, improves road safety and increases social opportunities for people.”
Chloe O’Neill (22) has been appointed to operate the programme in Timaru.
“I have to get 68 drivers from learners to learner restricted and 20 from restricted to full, although now [with the Covid-19 outbreak] we are unsure how we will complete that.”
Miss O’Neill said the programme had several referral agencies, including the police, Ministry of Social Development and other social agencies.
People who had applied for the programme ranged in age from those in their 20s through to one in their 50s.