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How Learning to Travel Independently Changes People’s Lives
We know that often an inability to travel independently is a barrier to people with learning disabilities fully participating in society, and being in control of their own lives.
Because of this, we run a Travel Buddy Scheme, where we pair somebody who would like to learn how to use public transport with somebody with a learning disability who is already a confident traveller. The Travel Buddy Trainer accompanies someone on the journey they want to learn until they are confident to do it alone.
Richard is 26 years old and enjoys a very busy social and active life. But before he took part in the My Life My Choice Travel Buddy Scheme he relied on his Mum and Dad to drive him places. When he started with us, he said, “I’d like to be able to get to places on my own so I am more independent.”
Richard began learning the journey on the bus once a week to get to the job club with Shaun, his Travel Buddy Trainer. They developed a good friendship and after a couple of months, Richard was able to do the journey on his own.
Shortly afterwards his Dad sent us an email to say that Richard had started a work skills placement at a local business that supplies fruit and vegetables. They also said that he was travelling independently to a volunteer job in a charity shop once a week.
Rebecca wanted to learn the journey to the florist where she volunteers once a month. When we met her, she told us that she felt quite nervous about the prospect of being on her own and said she was afraid of getting lost. But after 13 weeks of travel buddying, she was able to do the journey alone.
Rebecca’s mum has said that her confidence is growing all the time and her friends at the day service have noticed too that she is less anxious. She said, “I feel so confident now and less anxious about going on buses and travelling on my own.”
Katie is 19 years old and works at a local social enterprise café called Yellow Submarine once a week. Before she started Travel Buddy her Mum had been driving her to work, but now she can do it on her own. Her Mum said, “It is great to watch Katie grow in confidence.”
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