Young people leaving care in Tameside are being given the chance to learn to drive for free thanks to the generosity of a group of local instructors.
The driving lessons, which will be available across the borough, are being taken by 17 young people who were nominated by their social worker, personal advisor or transition support worker. They were recognised as they have all shown to be successful in employment, education or training or have achieved another endeavour like a sporting award.
Unfortunately, the cost of driving lessons can be a barrier for many care leavers as they also have to pay for all their living expenses. Being able to drive will give these young people greater personal freedom as well as access more employment opportunities.
Cllr Oliver Ryan, Tameside Council Executive Member for Children's Services, said: "It's great that Tameside Council is leading the way in offering this fantastic opportunity for our care leavers. We hope to grow this initiative so other businesses in Tameside will be able to offer support for these young people to help them into successful adult lives. It's a wonderful gesture from these driving instructors who are giving up their time to help our care leavers."
The driving instructors taking part in this scheme are Jim O'Connor, Michael Stamper, Jon Cochrane, Anthony Van Weerdenburg, Steven Yates, David Sutcliffe, Alison Plant, Stephanie Mistry, Stuart Milwraith, Leon Telford, Sofia Rafiq, Steve Chapman, Andy Stone, Rob Hulstone, Mic Cullen, Nancy Fairbrother.
Cllr Stephen Homer has been instrumental in providing this opportunity to Tameside's Care Leavers and the first lessons are now being arranged. As a driving instructor, he has used his professional contacts to support this initiative to enhance the Corporate Parenting offer.
He said: "The young people have been delighted with this opportunity and we're hoping more driving instructors will join the initiative in the future. Getting behind the wheel can open up a whole new world of possibilities for our care leavers."