November 17th 2014

Derby’s first class of independent travelers graduated at a ceremony on Wednesday 12th November 2014, following the launch of the city’s new scheme to promote independence and open up routes to further education, employment and leisure for young people with special educational needs.

The young people received a certificate from Councillor Fareed Hussain, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People as the first group to successfully complete their independent travel training.

They also received a Connected goodie bag, which will help the independent travellers such as illumination bands, a pedometer, a bus ticket holder and water bottle.

Derby’s brand new travel training programme is delivered through the excellent partnership working between the city schools and the Council and offers young people the skills to enable them to travel independently. Trainers help young people to learn how to cope with traffic and road safety, get to grips with the Highway Code and build confidence in using buses and trains.

One of Wednesday’s graduates, Troy, said: “Independent travel training helped me build up my confidence so I can go on the bus to college. Without it I would not be going to the places and doing the things that I do now. Having someone who had the time  to train me and give me the knowledge was so much of a help. I now travel everywhere independently more than I ever thought I would.”

Donnella Thompson, Troy’s sister said: ‘’I feel that the travel training team have supported Troy immensely, by completing the training, it has given him the confidence to become independent and  use public transport going to and from college. Before this training Troy had a taxi to college and back and the rest of the time he would stay at home because I work and he was dependent on me. Apart from college the training has had a good effect on his personal life, he now meets his friends around Derby and in different places like Burton and Nottingham whereas before he would of never of done this.”

Councillor Fareed Hussain, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The training is invaluable to young people in building their confidence, opening up opportunities and creating a stepping stone to work. All the young people should be very proud of the fundamental life skills they have gained and the hard work they have put into the training. I’m delighted to be presenting them with certifcates to mark their achivement.”

The city’s bus companies, trentbarton and Arriva Midlands have both supported the scheme by providing free bus passes for the Independent Travel Trainers. trentbarton’s Mr MANGO was also on hand at the ceremony to help celebrate the young people’s achievement.

Simon Mathieson, Area Director East for Arriva Midlands, said: “Arriva Midlands welcomed the opportunity to once again work in partnership with Derby City Council in helping to deliver the Travel Training Scheme. We know that the travel training scheme is invaluable to many young people and will help them to gain confidence and create a stepping stone to work.”

The Independent Travel Training scheme is part of Derby’s Local Offer helping to provide services and information for 0 – 25 year olds with special needs and disabilities. To find out more about Derby’s Local Offer visit http://www.derby.gov.uk/education-and-learning/special-education-needs-disabilities/

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