My name is Susan McDonald and I am a self-employed Driving Instructor from Billingham in Teesside. Since my partner died in 2006, I have been a single parent to 3 amazing boys (actually, they are now men – but they’re still my boys)! Prior to being an ADI, I spent my working life in various offices working in administration and financial roles until I was made redundant and my father died shortly after. At this point I realised that there was more to life than sitting in a boring office all day and that now was the time to make the change and do something I actually wanted to do and not something I had to do to make ends meet. Many, many years before I had wanted to become a Driving Instructor, so I decided that it was now or never.
In my ‘spare’ time, for over 30 years, I have been a volunteer of a Registered Charity which is the local branch of the National Charity Phab. During this time, I have held the positions of treasurer, administrator, Assistant Chairperson, fundraiser, leader, and organiser and I am currently the Person In Charge of the Charity and also the Manager of the Community Centre which we have the lease of. In my younger days I was also one of the founder members of the Phab Youth Council.
During the first lockdown I noticed a lot of ADI/PDI’s were saying how much they were struggling to make ends meet as they were not entitled to any financial help and were unable to earn a living due to restrictions imposed. Some of these people were really struggling and seemed quite desperate. At this time, I thought that there must be some help somewhere for these people, but there was nothing for so many of them and I wished I could help them in some way.
In November, as we entered a second lockdown I noticed a lot of people again starting to worry about how they were going to survive yet another lockdown without help and started to think of a way I could help. I decided to ask a small Facebook group for their opinion on setting up a fund to help the ‘forgotten ones’ and found that many people were willing to donate. Bobbie Hicks got in touch with me and we discussed how this could be possible and if the fund could actually help people and we decided it was ‘worth a try’ so together we set up a Go Fund Me page. Within the first few days the fund had raised almost £300.
The main aim of the fund is to ask fellow Driving Instructors, family and friends if they could donate any amount to be able to provide a little financial assistance to fellow ADI/PDI’s who find themselves in financial difficulty through no fault of their own. There will be a strict selection process to ensure that the funds are allocated fairly and to the people who really need them.
I have been a driving instructor for about 27 years, during that time I have taken further training to become an Accident Investigator and then later a Fleet trainer. For a while during the second lockdown, I was thinking about setting up a Go Fund me page to help all the ADI’s and PDI’s whose stories I was coming across on Facebook. I saw Susan McDonald’s post about a similar idea and contacted her and this project was started. It seems like a scary thing to do, but we cannot live in fear, so we took the bull by the preverbal horns and launched the Go Fund me page.
We have both been bowled over by your offer of help at the ADINJC, which we are most grateful for.
• The money is held by Go Fund Me for 60 days then needs to be transferred to a bank account. This is being set up with Nat West as a Community Account with their advice.
• Although Susan and Bobbie would very much like to achieve the target they set, we are also aware that this is a large sum. We think it best therefore to not actually work towards a target, but just try to raise enough to be able to help. We would like to see this as not just a ‘one off’ fund which is just set up to cover the COVID-19 Pandemic, but an ongoing fund to help any Driving Instructor, anytime, whenever they may need it.
• If the Fund does not raise enough money to be able to help anybody at all it’s suggested that the funds will be given to an agreed charity. To decide this charity a poll on various ADI Sites will be held to vote where the funds should go.
• The hope is to be able to help people as soon as possible, the first step being to get a sum to work with in the account.
• The amount awarded to each individual will depend entirely on the circumstances of the person and the funds available. A panel will be set up to oversee who the funds are donated to.
• Instructors will be able to nominate others in confidence, but we will also require the agreement of the nominee and proof that they are indeed in need.
• The fund is hopefully to only be used for desperate people and not just people who are short of a little money or would like a little more than they have. We all have hardships, but sometimes (like at the moment) people have a real need of help – these are the people we are aiming to assist.
We do hope our members will be supportive, and give generously to help others in a less fortunate situation. Even small contributions will help. Let’s make this an initiative that ADIs can get behind to support people in our industry.
Please donate using this link.
Lynne Barrie MA – Chair, ADINJC