Eligible members of the Penrith community will soon have access to free driving lessons thanks to a program inspired by the NSW Government’s $44 million initiative Ability Links.
The Ross Hutchison Foundation driving program was formed by Reverend Hutchison after he and local ‘Linker’, Paul, supported Rylee Lowe, 19, achieve the 120 hours of driving practice needed to obtain a license.
Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, welcomed the driving program and applauded the work of Ability Links.
“This is a fantastic example of the incredible work achieved by Ability Links. Not only has Mr Lowe benefitted from the program but it has sparked the idea to support other locals in the community to achieve their own goal to get their license,” Mr Williams said.
Eligibility for the driving program includes people with disability, people with mental illness, Indigenous Australians and disadvantaged youth.
Through the support of Ability Links, Mr Lowe has also achieved his goals of playing rugby league, attending TAFE and working as a mentor to young people.
“Ability Links has had a huge impact on my life. Paul has worked with me to get my license, play rugby and get a job supporting students at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School,” Mr Lowe said.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said Ability Links was a great asset to the area and congratulated all those involved.
“Ability Links is a fantastic program, empowering local people with disability, their families and carers to plan for the future and realise their own aspirations,” Mr Ayres said.
Over 73,000 people with disability, their families and carers have benefited from Ability Links. According to independent reports by Urbis, the program returns three dollars in economic and social benefits for every dollar invested.
“Ability Links is an incredibly successful program that complements the aims of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),” Mr Williams said.
To find out more about Ability Links, please visit: www.abilitylinksnsw.org.au.