Uniting NSW.ACT 120 Countdown driving program celebrates its 100th student getting their P-plates

Lily Moody was pleased to accept her gift bag before driving herself to attend TAFE.

DRIVING is a wonderful freedom, but getting a license isn’t always without its difficulties, such as having constant access to a car, so the good folk at Uniting have developed a driver mentoring program to assist in the progress of individuals, from all walks of life, in attaining P-plate licences sooner.

When Nambucca Heads resident Lily Moody walked into Uniting NSW.ACT’s 120 Countdown office in July last year, she would not have expected to be the program’s 100th student to get their Provisional License as a result of the practical and financial help from this vital service.

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Uniting’s 120 Countdown program (120 denotes the logbook hours that need to be accrued) offers support for learner drivers who may not have adequate access to a car or a supervising mentor or lack the funds for multiple driving lessons, and the service offers training to assist drivers to learn the road rules and pass the Driver Knowledge Test and also offers financial support to take the test at the end.

“The program started in the Mid North Coast, Nambucca in late 2018 and expanded to Coffs Harbour in July 2021,” Team Leader Harlan Cooper said.

“Since December 2018 the program has enrolled over 420 students and has now celebrated the success of its 100th student, Lily Moody, in passing the driving test and attaining her provisional driving licence.

“For newly enrolled learners, a couple of driving lessons with a professional instructor gets them off the starting blocks while they wait for a volunteer mentor to become available.

“Weekly drives with a mentor also give the learner the regular experience they need to build confidence and competence, which is a great aspect of the program that benefits both the learner and the mentor and builds a valuable community connection and friendship across generations, plus, the volunteer mentors describe their role as hugely rewarding,” Harlan said.

For Lily Moody, 19, inquiring about getting support to gain her provisional licence has been one of the best moves she could make, with Volunteer Mentor Michael Tarleton stepping up to help Lily gain the knowledge and skills to get her P’s though weekly driving sessions in one of the Uniting cars.

The team at United encourages the participation of more mentors such as Michael Tarleton.

For more information visit https://www.uniting.org/services/youth-services/learner-driver-mentoring.


Team leader Harlan Cooper, Volunteer Driving Mentor Michael Tarleton, Lily, her Mum Colleen Scott and Support Worker Louise Parth.

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