For school and college students being able to get out and about on their own helps grow confidence and independence. It also saves money, is good for the environment and offers valuable time for socialising and experiencing the outside world.
However, for young disabled people there are a range of physical and attitudinal barriers in society to independent travel:
inaccessible pavements and crossings
lack of information
fears for personal safety.
These barriers mean that students miss the opportunity to build important life skills and lead to a reliance on expensive taxi and car journeys.
The Move Makers project
Between July 2014 and March 2015, Living Streets delivered an innovative project with special educational needs (SEN) schools to address the barriers to independent and active school travel, under the name Move Makers.
Funded through Schools Go Smarter Tyne and Wear, the project used a student-led approach to ensure it was delivered on the students’ terms. The project engaged 53 students aged 14-18 from five SEN schools in Tyne and Wear.
At the end of the project the number of students with a desire to travel actively more than doubled, increasing from 19 to 44.