Bus operator helps Southampton City Council provide invaluable travel training for local people with learning disabilities

05/07/2019 Source3: http://www.southampton.gov.uk/news/article.aspx

Southampton City Council is working with Bluestar buses to help provide travel training for local people who have a learning disability.

The bus operator provides bus passes so development officers for the Life Skills Service can prepare adults with learning disabilities for work or volunteering.

The Life Skills service commissioned by Southampton City Council provides support to adults with learning disabilities who want to explore paid employment, further education and voluntary work. They also support individuals to increase their independence skills, including travelling independently and community or leisure access.

Depending on the individual needs of the person, the Life Skills team offers tailored support to increase confidence and independence - including help to access training and education, employer engagement to set up work experience or employment opportunities, CV creation and interview preparation, one-to-one support including job coaching and travel training, safety awareness and money skills.

“Southampton City Council Life Skills service does an excellent job, making sure more people in the region have the chance to take employment or volunteering opportunities - and travelling independently on public transport is an important part of that,” said Richard Tyldsley, Bluestar general manager.

“We are pleased to be able to support the council in its activities, by providing free travel for its Life Skills travel trainers. It complements our customer promise training programme which all our drivers undertake so that they are more aware of all of our customers’ needs. It was great meeting with some of those who have been helped by this initiative - and learning about their experiences.

“I’m delighted they’re enjoying their journeys with Bluestar - and I’d like to wish them success with their travels in the future.”

Councillor Lorna Fielker, cabinet member for Adult Care at Southampton City Council, added: “It’s wonderful seeing the people the Life Skills team work with gain independence and realise their full potential. Making sure they feel confident catching the bus is a key skill. It means they can travel to and from work or volunteering opportunities as well as getting out to meet with friends in the community.

“We teach people which buses they need to take, where to wait and how to recognise destination landmarks. We also make sure they understand how to board buses, showing their pass to the driver - and even the best places to sit. It’s great to see them managing the entire process independently. The help we receive from Bluestar to support them to achieve this is absolutely invaluable.”

If you know of, or are supporting anyone with a learning disability who you believe would be interested in the Life Skills Service please contact 023 8091 7585, or email [email protected]