AN INNOVATIVE scheme that gets youngsters behind the wheel has turned two.

Swindon Young Drivers was set up two years ago by a collective of driving instructors from across the town.

The scheme aims to teach teens road safety – by giving them a taste of what it’s like to sit behind the steering wheel of a car.

On Sunday, the charity welcomed thirty youngsters to Wroughton Park and Ride for driving lessons. Driving games – including one that tested would-be drivers’ reactions while wearing beer mug goggles – gave a taste of driving in different conditions.

Swindon Young Drivers founder member Jo Silvester said that the charity had been established after instructors grew concerned about a spate of deaths on Swindon’s roads.

“In 2013 we had two crashes on the A419 and we lost three young drivers,” said the 47-year-old Haydon Wick woman.

“That’s when we thought we’ve got to do something to improve road safety. We needed to get that message across differently – from the driver’s perspective.”

There are ten driving instructors registered with the charity. They take out children aged 11 to 16 for lessons of between 30 minutes to an hour, driving them around a car park course laid out with a range of challenges, including roundabouts and wayward cyclists.

The objective is to make children better road users. The training has worked on Jo’s own two daughters, she said. The girls have begun to look out for what other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are doing – including in one instance, an underage child buying cigarettes from a shop.

Katherine Silvester, 12, had her first driving lesson aged 11. “The first time I went out it was scary,” she laughed. “But then I got used to it. It’s now just when I got backwards that it’s scary. The first time I did it I screamed a bit.”

Mum Claire Eggett, 44, of Chiseldon, watched nervously as her son nipped around the Wroughton course. She said: “I think it’s fantastic. They’re learning the important skills here.”