'I feel I can do anything' say Rotherham SEND youngsters completing independent travel training

ALL ABOARD: Successful students of the independent travel trainingALL ABOARD: Successful students of the independent travel training
ALL ABOARD: Successful students of the independent travel training
YOUNG people with additional needs have told how passing travel training has been a big boost for their independence.

Rotherham Council committed £170,000 over two years on the course aimed at those aged 12 to 24 with special educational needs and disabilities.

The target is to help more youngsters access public transport safely and confidently – while reducing the home to school transport bill, which is forecast to be £1.1 million over budget.

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This is currently contributing to the £4.6 million forecast overspend in RMBC’s children’s services for 2023/24.

Six more youngsters celebrated in style on a 1955 Leyland Bus provided by South Yorkshire Transport Museum after completing the travel training.

Among them was Olivia Bray, who said: “I feel I have started growing as a person and have become more of an adult. Now I feel as if I can do anything that I want.”

Dad Craig added: “I have seen lots of improvements, she is a lot more independent and a lot more confident. “Life is a lot better. There are times when Ol might have been at college and wanted to stay behind with her friends. Now she can do this because she knows the bus times.”

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Through the training, students undertake theoretical and practical learning before being mentored by a travel buddy.

Millie Brookes was another successful student. Her mum Mala said: “She has grown in confidence and has become a lot more independent. Staff answered any questions that we had and addressed concerns.

“We are not restricted by time. Before we had to wait for transport to arrive before I could go to work. Millie can now get the bus, she knows what times they are and it has made life a lot easier for all of us.”

Cllr Victoria Cusworth, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Investment was provided by the council to launch and grow this scheme so that more young people in Rotherham can travel independently.

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“Travelling independently opens up social, educational and employment opportunities for young people. I would like to congratulate the students for all of their hard work in gaining this important life skill.”