Zoe Smith – Instructor

My name is Zoe and I am a Driving Instructor working alongside The Community Driving School to help those suffering from poverty, homelessness, recovering from addiction, rehabilitating from a life of crime or diagnosed with mental health issues gain confidence, work experience and good work ethic whilst earning a driving licence.  In essence, we are providing a gateway to those wishing to make a change for the better in their lives.  How have I arrived here?  My journey has been punctuated by a fair few twists and turns, some of which I will share with you now.

From a very young age, my life has revolved around horsepower, and I love it.  My father was part of the rallying scene and I remember having great fun marshalling on rallies, being a passenger on car runs, and even being sped around Silverstone and Brands Hatch a few times.  He was usually the rally navigator, and so I had the task of learning how to read a map and get us from A to B on the more sedate days out!!  No SatNavs back then!  Once I reached my teenage years, my passion for horsepower became that of the four-legged type, I was very lucky and owned by beloved ‘J’ from the age of 13.  We had a great few years together, exploring the North Downs and competing locally.

I met John, CEO of The Community Driving School, by chance during the summer of 2018.  At the time, I was struggling with severe anxiety issues that had stopped me from being able to drive on a motorway.  We got on very well, and I was intrigued by the concept of the driving school.  What a unique way of helping people to help themselves better their lives on a permanent basis.  John kindly offered to help me overcome my fear of the motorway, a rather embarrassing one really considering my youth ingrained passion for cars!!  His patience and compassion really inspired me, within an hour I had managed to control my anxiety and get on a slip road.  I cannot say it was easy, but I did it, thanks to John.

When John asked me to join him as part of the driving school towards the end of 2018, there was never a question in my mind of the answer!  I gave up a lifetime career in customer service, retrained, and, here I am – providing both private lessons and lessons for our sponsored pupils. Supporting them all with compassion, patience and encouragement to gain a life skill and help them shape their future.