Published On: 5 October 2023Categories: Stories

It took 18 months, many kilometres, and two test attempts, but Lachlan Clough has taken a giant leap towards greater independence through gaining his car licence.

And the 22-year-old has wasted no time in exploring his ever-widening backyard in his faithful 2015 Hyundai I40 since getting his P’s.

Paid carer with North West Support Services, and volunteer driver mentor with Devonport Chaplaincy, David Smith, used his fortnightly support shifts with Lachlan to teach him to drive.

David said he had seen Lachlan grow in confidence and independence in their six years working together.

“We have worked on various life and social skills from budgeting and banking, to cooking and home maintenance, to exercise and communicating confidently,” David said.

“Teaching him to drive was a logical and practical next step on his life journey.

“He was hesitant at first, until I took him Go Kart racing. He left me in the dust!

“He was nervous the first time behind the wheel but quickly gained his confidence and eagerly took direction.”

Lachlan, who works part time at Mersey Bank Apartments, said David was a skilful and patient teacher.

“I enjoyed the driving, but also the long chats we would have about various things while we were on the road,” Lachlan said.

“Having a licence has certainly increased my freedom and independence and allowed me to explore new work, study and leisure opportunities.”

David said it was fulfilling to be able to teach someone a valuable life skill.

“I’m also very thankful to North West Support Services for allowing me to teach Lachlan to drive during my fortnightly shifts, and for altering my hours to allow me to take Lachlan driving at night to get his required hours,” David said.

David worked as a student mentor with Devonport chaplaincy before becoming a learner driver mentor.

The Easy Ps program helps supply fully insured vehicles for use by young drivers who do not have access to a car in which to learn, or cannot afford paid driving lessons.

Dozens of learners have obtained their licence through the program.

There is a waiting list of learners needing a mentor.

Do you have the time to become a mentor? Contact Devonport Chaplaincy on 6417 3175 to find out more information.

By Paul O’Rourke

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