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Buddy scheme offers travel chance

PUBLISHED: 13:31 18 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

MORE young people with learning difficulties or disabilities will the chance to become independent travellers as part of a scheme that could save up to £150,000 a year.

MORE young people with learning difficulties or disabilities will the chance to become independent travellers as part of a scheme that could save up to £150,000 a year.

The Travel Buddy project, run by Norfolk County Council, involves trained young people pair up with those with disabilities or learning difficulties to help them gain the confidence and knowledge to travel to college alone.

The scheme supports the personal development and independence of young people and could save Norfolk County Council up to £150,000 per year in taxi fees.

It follows on from the County Council's award-winning Titan scheme, which trains young people and vulnerable adults to take independent journeys.

Titan is being rolled out nationally and works by gradually developing a person's understanding of road safety, how to access transport and how to seek help, if necessary.

Mary Roche, Norfolk County Council's transport policy manager, said: “As part of the buddy scheme we are training young people to support peers with particular needs.

“The buddy will pair up with a young person who is about to start college and will work with them in the summer holiday, taking them on their journey to and from college as many times as is necessary to give them the confidence and skills to make the trip alone.”

Norfolk County Council has received 70 referrals for young people who could benefit in the new school year and trained buddies are already working with them to help them prepare for the start of term.

The buddies, aged 16-22, are trained in listening and supporting the young people and also develop valuable communication and mentoring skills.

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