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Deaf youngsters get into drive mode; Certificates awarded after course.

Byline: By Steve Evans

DEAF and hearing-impaired young people from Coventry and Warwickshire have graduated with honours from a course designed to hone their skills behind the wheel.

They turned up at Coventry Transport Museum to collect gold awards after completing a course financed by the European Social Fund.

The Coventry-based Heart of England Community Foundation helped secure European cash totalling pounds 10,000 to run the 25-hour road user awareness course being operated by the Motorvate UK project.

Among those awarded a certificate was 17-year-old Natasha Kelly, of Spinney Hill, Warwick, who has now applied for her provisional driving licence.

She said: "I like driving. I enjoyed the course because it was fun, and it was nice to meet other people. I am more confident now."

Ishpal Narwal, aged 19, of Leamington, added: "It was a brilliant course and I feel a lot more confident."

The off-road lessons were given by city driving instructor Brian Andrews at Hearsall Common, Coventry.

Mr Andrews said the hearing problems of the 24 people on the course were not a disadvantage.

"Their awareness is very keen," he said. "For example, when it comes to feeling the 'biting' point on the clutch, they sense it more acutely because they feel the vibrations of the car better than a hearing person."

Phil Moody, project organiser with Coventry-based Motorvate UK, said: "The young people will hopefully now go on to pass their driving test. I am proud of them all."

CAPTION(S):

PRIDE... Participants and backers (from left) Natasha Kelly; Carol Davies, Heart of England; Ryan Smith; Phil Moody; Imran Dar; Phyl Painter, Connections; Artan Dar; John Lee, who helps produce sign language videos; and Ishpal Narwal. Picture: James Balfour D29982_1
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 6, 2005
Words:286
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