Eastern & Central Community Trust (ECCT) makes funding donations to community organisations in Gisborne District, Hawke's Bay, Tararua, Wairarapa, Manawatu & Horowhenua.
The first criminal offence for young people is often related to driving without a licence or with the wrong type of licence but an organisation that helps people successfully through the testing process is headed for Wairoa. A $4,000 donation from the Eastern and Central Community Trust is being used by the ‘Got Drive' non-profit organisation towards the costs of having a qualified driving instructor in Wairoa. ‘Got Drive' says giving people the opportunity to gain a full driver's licence will significantly help reduce crime and poverty and put them safely on the road. The programme started in Flaxmere two years ago and is assisting about 300 new drivers a year. Many of them are students from Hastings' Flaxmere College and William Colenso College in Napier. Police involved in the programme say the success of the programme can be judged by the reduction in driver reoffending rates. “The major barriers for many people are the costs involved and that many think they will fail the test,” says ‘Got Drive' chairman Steve Jones. “The test is difficult, and it needs to be because we want safe drivers on the roads, but without professional drive instructor lessons, which can be expensive, many young people just wouldn't pass,” he says. Mr Jones says ‘Got Drive' hopes to work with students from Wairoa College. “We're told that about 70 percent of first offences are traffic offences so if we focus on schools and get to young drivers early we will reduce the numbers going through the courts,” he says.
Another $4,000 Community Trust donation goes to Wairoa Youth Services Trust, which is planning to separate its social service operation and after–school programme.