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Steering Young Drivers Toward Safety: The Garage Project Paves the Way for Safer Roads as Young People Complete LEADER Funded Project 

The Garage Project, an initiative aimed at educating young drivers and future drivers about road safety, took place over 18 months with €88,000 of funding from Donegal Local Development CLG’s LEADER programme.

This innovative programme catered to over 130 boys and girls aged 14 and above, providing them with hands-on experience working on real cars, teaching mechanical and bodywork skills, and emphasising the importance of road safety.

Each five-week session of the programme accommodated ten young participants. Under the expert guidance of instructors Denis Ferry, Leslie O’Donnell, and members of the Donegal Youth Service, these budding mechanics learned about cars in a fully functional garage located in Letterkenny. Such is the demand for this initiative that the programme was fully subscribed.

The Garage Project has received support from the Department of Rural & Community Development, Donegal Local Community Development Committee, Donegal Local Development CLG, and Donegal County Council through grant aid under The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in Ireland 2014-2022.

The Garage Project is an integral component of the Pro Social Ireland Driving programme, which was established in Donegal in 2012 and has since expanded its reach to several counties. The overarching goal of this programme is to educate young people by challenging their existing thought patterns and attitudes toward driving, ultimately fostering greater awareness of their driving behaviour.

Sinead McLaughlin, Rural Development Manager at DLDC, expressed her support for the project, saying, “The Garage Project is great example of how LEADER funding can drive positive change in our communities. It empowers our youth with invaluable skills and instils a strong commitment to road safety. We are proud to support initiatives like this that make a real difference in the lives of young people in Donegal. If this project can save just one young life on our roads, it will have been worth it.

Denis Ferry, trainer on The Garage Project, said, “The Garage Project aims to harness the passion young people have for cars in a constructive manner. It educates them about safety before they hit the road, reducing the potential risks and ensuring they do not jeopardise lives. This course is designed to instil respect for cars, an understanding of how they function, self-respect, and respect for all road users among young drivers, irrespective of gender. On behalf of the team, we would like to say thank you to DLDC for their support for The Garage Project.”

Mick Quinlivan, Chairman, Pro Social Ireland said, “This programme aims to teach young people to respect cars and how they work and  also to respect themselves and all other road users. A major concern is that young people modify cars, cut springs, and lower them, which is extremely dangerous, and this programme educates them as to why this practice is wrong and unsafe. This project channels the interest young people have in cars in the right direction, educating them on safety before they become a risk on the roads and ultimately save lives and prevent injury. Pro Social Ireland would like to thank DLDC and Leader for their support throughout the programme.

For more information, please visit www.dldc.org.

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