Bassendean: Regional Youth Driving Education program wins 2018 WA Youth Award

Bassendean Mayor Renée McLennan and mentor Jonathon Stone, who has completed more than 230 volunteer sessions.
Bassendean Mayor Renée McLennan and mentor Jonathon Stone, who has completed more than 230 volunteer sessions.

A BASSENDEAN-based driving education program has won its first WA Youth Award for helping more than 480 disadvantaged young people gain driving experience since 2016.

The Town of Bassendean Youth Services’ Regional Youth Driving Education (RYDE) program won the largest organisation award at the 2018 WA Youth Awards ceremony on October 12.

The program involved volunteer driving mentors help improve young people’s driving ability and reach the required 50 hours of driving experience to obtain their licence.

It began in 2014 and the first driving session took place in February 2016.

Youth services manager Greg Neri said he and development officer Ayden Mackenzie have been in the youth sector for many years and wanted to design a program with “tangible impact”.

“We feel like we have solved a problem which had no prospect of being solved without the millions of dollars Victoria spent dealing with the same issue,” he said.

“The award helps us argue that this program has no strings attached for its partners.

“It can run itself through automation and break even financially without external funding.”

Mr Neri said many people found it difficult to complete 50 hours of driving experience because they did not have access to a car or a qualified driver to supervise them.

“We have had 143 volunteer mentors since it started running,” he said.

“Unlike other mentor driving programs around Australia, RYDE signs up various consortium members throughout the community who already undertake a particular RYDE function as part of their core business.”

He planned to extend the RYDE program, with the cities of Cockburn and Mandurah implementing the program within the past 12 months and the City of Joondalup passing a motion to run the program in the next financial year.

2018 WA YOUTH AWARD WINNERS

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award: Scott Guerini (12), Alkimos

The ECU Community Leadership Award: Drisana Levitzke-Gray (25), Balga

The Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award: Dale Rollason (24), Broome

The Life Without Barriers Organisational Achievement Award – small: Youth Disability Advocacy Network

The Minister for Youth’s Most Outstanding Youth Worker Award: Jessica Vati (42), Mandurah

The Mission Australia Cultural Endeavours Award: Kamsani (Kam) Bin-Salleh (25), Cottesloe

The RAC Innovation for Sustainable Future Award: Bella Burgemeister (12), Dalyellup

The YMCA Organisational Achievement Award – large: Town of Bassendean Youth Services, RYDE Program

The Charmaine Dragun Memorial Award: Lindsay Brennan (23), employed by 6PR/ECU