Michaela has been working with Travel Buddy Mandy Brown to build the skills and confidence to travel independently on public transport. The Travel Buddies project, delivered by Leeds Alternative Travel in close partnership with Leeds City Council, works with a variety of young people with different special educational needs.
Young people like Michaela practice their independent travel skills with their Travel Buddy whilst they are out and about. The Travel Buddy slowly withdraws their support until the young person is ready to make the journey alone.
‘Michaela has come on in leaps and bounds since we started this training,’ explains Travel Buddy Mandy. ‘She has mobility problems and learning difficulties and wasn’t very confident when we began – she had never been anywhere by herself before. We arranged extra road safety sessions for Michaela and she has really blossomed since starting to cross roads by herself.
‘Michaela no longer needs us to meet at her front door so we meet at the bus stop instead – she is noticeably more chatty and confident. She really enjoys being in charge of the journey, which is vitally important in empowering her and further develops her independence. Meeting Michaela as she gets off the bus is the next stage of her training.’
Michaela is really proud of herself for being more independent. ‘Mandy hasn’t pushed me to do anything until I’m ready to… I feel more confident – I have really enjoyed doing this and would give the training 10 out of 10.’