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Young people on track to independence thanks to life-changing travel trainers

For more information visit the Northumberland SEND local offer:

More young people with additional needs in Northumberland are enjoying the freedom of independent travel thanks to a new training programme. 
Northumberland County Council has invested £100,000 in the pilot project that sees independent travel trainers work with eligible young people and empower them to develop the skills and confidence they need to travel safely and independently between their home and school or workplace. 
Northumberland’s two trainers, Donna Jackson and Dawn Atkinson, work with young people alongside their school or learning facility, supporting them to explore different modes of transport so that they can travel independently with their friends and peers. 
Dawn explained: “As travel trainers, our role is to join the students on their outings and within the classroom to gain an understanding of each student’s level of confidence and capabilities.  
We discuss topics such as road safety, communication and problem solving with each student over a period of up to four weeks, after which some students will move on to one-to-one travel training.” 
Donna added: “It has been such a pleasure to spend time with the students and to see them grow in confidence. We celebrated their graduation with some special day trips around the region by train. The students navigated the trains like pros and made us all so proud.” 
Among those celebrating were learners from the Northumberland Skills Morpeth Campus who enjoyed a rail journey from Morpeth to Wylam. 
One learner said: “Donna and Dawn are awesome. I really enjoyed spending time with them. They have lovely, calm vibes, are lovely to be around and open up to. They definitely helped me.” 
Anna Jobson, lecturer and educational visits coordinator, Northumberland Skills, the council’s post-16 learning provider, said: “I have seen first-hand, the positive impact of travel training on the learners involved. 

“Donna and Dawn have both made them feel safe, comfortable and able to express themselves. Not only have they grown in independence, but also in self-confidence and self-esteem. 
I cannot thank them enough for their support.” 
The independent travel training pilot is for eligible young people with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) who qualify for home to school transport assistance. 
It is just one of many service improvements underway following a major review of home to school and post-16 transport that aims to transform the way the service is delivered. 
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet member for Inspiring Young People, said: “We want all our young people in Northumberland to get the most out of life. 
“From listening to families, it was clear that for some young people there were barriers to them enjoying the freedom of independent travel experienced by many of their peers. 
“Thanks to our new travel trainers, working alongside our schools, young people are getting the extra support they need to learn new life skills and build their confidence so they can safely take these next steps on their journey towards adulthood.” 

For more information visit the Northumberland SEND local offer:

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