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Informing Business (Oct31): New scheme is 'L' of an idea for learner drivers

David Lee

Informing Business (Oct31): New scheme is 'L' of an idea for learner drivers

New scheme is 'L' of an idea for learner drivers

With the average cost of learning to drive setting you back more than £1,000, a new scheme has launched to support the financial challenge of getting teenagers on the road.

FirstDrive is a voucher driving scheme set up by Paul Lathrope and Steve Webb, which allows learners to create an online account which family and friends can donate to.

Gift cards can also be bought from its website.

The business, based in Switchback Road, Maidenhead, aims to create a cost effective way to learn how to drive.

Paul Lathrope, founder of the initiative which launched earlier this month, said: “FirstDrive was set up when we identified a real need for relatives of young learners to ring-fence funds for driving lessons.

“Having been through the expenditure ourselves we wanted to offer a cost effective alternative that benefited learners, their families and instructors.”

Funds in the account are redeemable at any registered UK driving school and if the learner driver passes before they’ve used up all their cash, it can be used for motoring projects or put towards car insurance.

The business has also teamed up with Halfords and insurance company Ingenie to offer learners affordable insurance and offer an ‘attractive proposition’ for driving instructors which includes covering the cost of ‘no show’ lessons.

Paul added: “We offer two membership options for our instructors, the first is a free listing and matching service as well as many other member benefits with just a small booking fee taken when students book a lesson, the second option is just £10 a month with no booking fees and other greater benefits such as no admin fees on new lease car deals.”

Visit for more information.

O2's next generation 5G network goes live in Slough

The launch of O2’s 5G network in Slough has been heralded as a ‘significant moment’ for customers and businesses in the town.

The telecommunications firm, which has its headquarters in Bath Road, chose to roll out its next-generation network in Slough alongside five UK cities, including London, Leeds and Belfast.

It is the first company to introduce 5G to the borough, with the technology expected to improve capacity, download speeds and reliability.  

At the launch of the network on Thursday, October 17, Mark Evans, chief executive of Telefonica UK, said: “Today is a significant moment for our business in Slough as we switch on the O2 5G network.

“I believe 5G is going to revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society.”

Hotspots have been turned on in the town at locations which include Slough Railway Station and O2’s headquarters on the Slough Trading Estate.

Slough MP Tan Dhesi said: “Access to 5G technology in Slough will improve business productivity and be a digital asset that can encourage more companies and investment to the town.”

Tips on how to go plastic free at workshop

Top tips on how businesses can reduce their plastic waste will be dished out at a free event.

The Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Plastic Free Maidenhead to educate companies on how they can start their plastic-free journey.

A workshop will be taking place at the MyWorkSpot co-working offices at Clyde House, Reform Road, from 6.30 to 8.30pm on Thursday, November 7.

Kuldeep Ahir, events director for the Maidenhead and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “Reducing plastic waste is a real challenge for businesses, but many do care and want to make a difference, knowing where to start is an issue for local businesses.

“Over the years Maidenhead businesses and the chamber have always been at the forefront when it comes to environmental issues.”

Visit and search for the Maidenhead Chamber plastic-free events to book a spot.

Film studios open new shared cycleway and footpath

Pinewood Studios has officially opened a new shared cycleway and footpath.

The path in Pinewood Road aims to improve connections with the film and television studios and provide a better route for nearby residents.

It runs from the main entrance down to the Five Points roundabout in Iver.

The development, funded by Pinewood Studios, forms part of the venue’s goal to remove 100,000 car journeys from the roads in the area each year.

Provisions already in place include free shuttle buses from local stations to the studios, which are available for residents to use with a free pass.

Electric car charging points are available at the studios with monthly biker breakfasts and biannual bike services also on offer for those travelling to work on two wheels.

Alastair Jack, sustainability manager at Pinewood Studios, said: “This new shared path will make it easier and safer for cyclists and walkers to travel along Pinewood Road and we’re delighted that it’s now open for use.”

After work business mixer

An after work mixer event has been organised for entrepreneurs, business professionals, directors and company owners.

The event, organised by Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce, will be held at Coppa Club, in Bridge Avenue, on Tuesday, November 12 from 6-8pm.

Chamber executives will be available on the day for advice, ideas and to share information.

The event is free but must be booked in advance.

Visit to book your place.

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