Wollongong learner driver offers free car rides over Christmas

DRIVING IT FORWARD: Melanie Winton-Holmes and her son Chris Holmes, who is a learner driver. They are offering to drive people around for free this festive season. Picture: Adam McLean

DRIVING IT FORWARD: Melanie Winton-Holmes and her son Chris Holmes, who is a learner driver. They are offering to drive people around for free this festive season. Picture: Adam McLean

A Wollongong mum and her teenage son have found a novel way to help those needing help this festive season.

The pair are offering to pick up people needing a lift and drive them to where they need to go, free of charge.

The only catch is they have to agree to be driven by learner driver Chris Holmes, while being supervised by mum Melanie Winton-Holmes.

Ms Winton-Holmes said the response from the public so far has been “amazing’’.

“Chris and I are driving around as it is trying to build up the [120] hours he needs so I thought we probably could use this time better….that’s when we decided to post on the Paying It Forward Wollongong Facebook page,’’ she said.

I thought we could help those people, especially the elderly get to doctor’s appointments or even shops so they can do their Christmas shopping. - Melanie Winton-Holmes

‘’A lot of people on this site often require help to be picked up or driven to various appointments.

‘’I thought we could help those people, especially the elderly get to doctor’s appointments or even shops so they can do their Christmas shopping.

‘’The response has actually been amazing and it has been really lovely for everyone to be so positive about it and say such nice things about my idea.’’

Read more‘Paying It Forward Wollongong’ Facebook group donates items to Wesley Community Centre

When the Mercury spoke to Ms Winton-Holmes and 17-year-old Chris, they had already helped three people get to where they needed to be, including taking a woman to the hospital.

Ms Winton-Holmes, who teaches at Five Islands Secondary College in Port Kembla, said her son was more than happy to drive people around.

Chris said he found the process ‘’therapeutic’’.

DRIVING IT FORWARD: Melanie Winton-Holmes and her son Chris Holmes, who is a learner driver. They are offering to drive people around for free this festive season. Picture: Adam McLean

DRIVING IT FORWARD: Melanie Winton-Holmes and her son Chris Holmes, who is a learner driver. They are offering to drive people around for free this festive season. Picture: Adam McLean

‘’I’m quite confident and enjoy driving and find it very therapeutic actually,’’ the Wollongong High School of Performing Arts student said.

‘’The people I’m driving around have been great. They know I’m a L-plater but are just so grateful.

‘’I’m glad we are able to help people, especially at this time of the year when it is a bit more stressful for people.’’

Chris and his mum are happy to drive people anywhere from Bulli to Shellharbour.

‘’Those who would like us to do this need to visit the Paying It Forward Wollongong website or Facebook page,’’ she said.

Illawarra Mercury

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