Some of our older children from the West Midlands and Dudley regions enjoyed an exciting real life driving experience recently, picking up some great practical and social skills along the way.
Ten children aged between 12 - 16 years took part in the Admiral Young Drivers activity at the NEC in Birmingham recently under the watchful eyes of their foster carers and Family Fostercare Family Support Worker, Tracey Lewis. The Young Driver sessions give children between the age of 11-17 the opportunity to drive a real dual-control learner driver car under the instruction of specially qualified, government approved Young Driver driving instructors.
Despite some early pre-event bravado from some of the children, fuelled by previous go-karting experience, the children were surprised and a little daunted to see 5 'proper' cars - complete with gears! - pull up at the entrance and our instructors for the session step out.
Our group of 10 children were asked to pair up for their driving experience, taking turns as driver and then as passenger during their partner's turn to drive. This in itself was a challenging experience for some of the children less comfortable in social situations, but we were delighted to see that all the children rose to the challenge, and were patient and supportive when it was their turn to observe their partner's driving lesson. Some fledgling friendships were made on the day and important social skills reinforced that will probably last well beyond the explanation of clutch control and gear changes!
Although some of the children were a little nervous to begin with they all got into the cars without hesitation, and concentrated really hard on what they were doing and being told for the entirety of their 30 minute lesson. The great big smiles on the children's faces as they glanced out of the car every now and then for a reassuring thumbs up from their parents/carers on the sidelines were evidence enough that they all thoroughly enjoyed their first real driving experience.
With great pride in their accomplishment, each of our young drivers received a Driver Diary, written in and stamped by their instructors on completion of their lesson. All of the children said they had really enjoyed the experience and many of them said they had done better than they had expected to do on their first go, so it was a real confidence booster too. They all said they would love to do it again.
Well done to all our young drivers for taking part, we are all really proud of you.