Once a year, we hold our “Magic Day” charity fundraising event, and over the years have been fortunate enough to be visited by some very special vehicles.
The under 17s are the members of the club. They will be accompanied by 1 or more associates, usually a parent or guardian. Once at the club, only the member will drive, except for special events.
The primary goal of the club is to allow our members to become skilled, safe and accomplished drivers by the time they leave the club, and that takes time. Moreover, a number of our special events require people to have reached a certain skill level. Finally, as the club is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, longer associations with the club are preferred. If you are 16 or 17, you may be interested in one of the courses offered by our Pathfinder project.
At times we have a waiting list, but at the moment we do not, so if you are aged between 11 and 15, please get in touch and you should be able to join very soon. Those eligible to become driving members are generally invited to attend an open day along with their associates and family to observe the club in action, ask questions and learn all about our activities and the benefits of becoming a driving Member. Having joined the club, they will then be eligible to attend the next meeting where we can arrange an ungraded area to start from. In the autumn, prospective driving members will have the opportunity to join the club at that time for participation at the start of the following season.
The associate (parent or guardian) teaches the member to drive. At regular intervals, the member will be assessed by a club instructor to help guide members and associates alike, and when appropriate move the member up a grade.
Members will initially drive the ‘family’ car. This should have 4 seats, a manual gearbox and a centrally located handbrake which can be reached easily by the passenger. If your car does not match this description please get in touch and we can advise you if your car would be suitable, in particular an automatic is permitted on medical grounds. As your skills improve you will get the chance to drive a variety of vehicles including vans, rigid trucks, articulated lorries, small buses and double deckers!
This is an own risk Club. We all bring our own cars and families entirely at our own risk. However, any kind of damage is extremely rare.
Yes. Our members progress through ungraded, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and for the very best, the X grade. Each grade requires not only improved driving skills, but theory tests and speciality driving experiences to produce all round better drivers.
We currently use a number of different venues located largely throughout the South of England. Please see the “locations” page for more information.
Meetings are generally held on Sunday between February and November each year, with occasional one-off experience on Saturdays, but there is usually only one meeting each weekend. The Club does not operate at all of the venues each weekend but rotates between them. It does not visit each venue an equal number of times. While some venues may appear to be a long way away, most are within a two hour drive from home and we do have Members who regularly make the trip to meetings from as far away as Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Other than a few venues having grade restrictions due to complexity and skill levels required, you can attend all meetings on the calendar.
All normal driving days are free of charge, including regular instruction from our team of instructors, motorway training and truck day. Special events such as First Aid, Skid Pan, Caterham Day, 4×4 driving etc. incur extra charges.
We are constantly evolving, but we currently offer night driving, mechanical knowledge, speed awareness, towing, automatic gearbox driving, skill tests, extensive manoeuvring, distracted driving, emergency braking and more!
You can go to as many or as few meetings as you like, subject only to the Grade restrictions. There is no additional charge. It is, however, considered impractical to base your membership upon attendance at only one of the venues we use and Driving Members are encouraged to attend as many different venues as possible. It is emphasised that the more frequently and the greater number of different venues a Driving Member attends, the more rapid his or her progress is likely to be, opening up a wider range of venues and other driving opportunities (e.g. Caterham Cars / Trucks / 4×4).
The Under 17 Car club is open to all students in the appropriate age range, regardless of other factors. Provided you, the supporting adult or associate are willing and able to provide the support we are happy to include your child.
The only limitation we impose on this inclusiveness is unmanageable risk to others – we have never yet refused entry on these grounds.
It is important to note that instruction is delivered by volunteer instructors who will not be expert in any learning or health conditions that may affect your child. We therefore need your guidance and support in working with them in the most effective way for them. Previous intakes have included children with autism, a range of learning difficulties, physical disabilities, cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome.
Club instructors are typically parents of driving members past and present who have, in most cases, guided their own driving members to grade 1 and beyond. You may encounter professional driving instructors among their ranks and serving police officers, and it is not unknown for Associates to change career paths.