Teaching basic car care at Blue Mountains Mazda

Driving skills: Mary Cant and Angelique Sasagi (Thrive Services), Cameron Macarthur, Andrew Macarthur (Blue Mountains Mazda), Miri Seivers and Sylvia Nick.
Driving skills: Mary Cant and Angelique Sasagi (Thrive Services), Cameron Macarthur, Andrew Macarthur (Blue Mountains Mazda), Miri Seivers and Sylvia Nick.

Basic car care was on people’s minds at Blue Mountains Mazda at Medlow Bath on Wednesday, September 6,

A group of women braved the cold to attend a workshop run by dealer principal Andrew Macarthur . The women were all part of the Drive Program, which empowers women and families to gain their driver’s licences by supporting them to access driving lessons and get their Learner’s permit.

Mr Macarthur shared his knowledge about checking the basic mechanics of your car and on how to change a tyre.  Women attending were also provided with information about purchasing a car and what best to do in driving situations.

The Drive Program is a partnership of Thrive Services and Blue Mountains Women’s Health and Resource Centre (BMWHRC), with the program originally focusing on assisting women escaping domestic violence as part of a Wimlah (West Connect) program.  Since moving to its new home the Drive Program has now been able to include support and lessons to women (aged 25 years and over) and families who require their licence to choice, safety and increased self-esteem. 

Participant Sylvia Nicks said “basically the Drive Program saved my life.  I was in a dangerous situation and I was also very badly injured and I couldn’t physically walk so getting a car was essential – I had no choice in the matter.  And it’s just opened the world to me.  I can do my own shopping, I don’t have to worry about buses and trains and I can visit my mum.  It really changed my life”.

“Once I had a car I was able sit in it and lock my doors and it just made me feel safe,” she said.

Angelique Sasagi, executive officer of Thrive Services, said “what we’re trying to do by offering the Drive Program to women and now families, is to provide support to build confidence and independence”.

“An example of this could be when a family is experiencing difficulties in getting secure and affordable housing in areas close to the train station or bus routes. The ones that they may be able to apply for may be located a fair distance away from public transport, schools and shops so they can’t be considered. A licence could make the big difference to this family and open up options they didn’t have before.

“To have such generous support from Andrew and the Macarthur family running this workshop from their Mazda premises and also offering to do more in the future, provides women with additional skills and even more confidence around driving and maintaining their car. This provides a sense of community and belonging to these women and others who may participate in the program in the future.”

For more details about the Drive Program contact Mary Cant at mary@thriveservices.org.au or call 02 4782 1555.