About WITS and BANES Travel Support
WITS are now doing funded work by Building Bridges (BBO). Service users are referred via approved partners. For more information about who can take part and how to access the scheme, please visit http://buildingbridgessw.org.uk/about/brochure/
We are an award winning independent project offering travel support to individuals who would like to travel independently on public transport for work, to meet friends, for college or training.
After meeting the person for the first time, we design an individual programme of support depending on their skills and needs.
A travel supporter will accompany the person on their journey until they become confident.
We can work on skills like planning a journey, road safety, telling the time, using money or a bus pass and help to build confidence.
The only cost to the individual are any bus or train fares although where possible we will assist people to apply for disabled person passes.
We are working with Bath and North East Somerset Council’s (BANES) Education Inclusion Service and Building Bridges Programme (BBO) to support young people to learn the necessary skills for Independent Travel.
Many of the people who use the BANES & WITS project find that they not only become independent travellers but the skills and confidence they gain opens up further opportunities. A good example of this is Ben’s story:
Ben, a young man with learning difficulties, lives with his parents in Chippenham, North Wiltshire.
SENCO’S (Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator Passenger Transport Unit, Wiltshire Council), contacted WITS to see if they could support him to attend Project Search at the RUH Bath. The project was a year’s work experience involving 10 students who would work in different parts of the hospital, the work was varied assisting with ID badge making, and other areas were in the recycling, postal, and grounds maintenance departments.
Ben started the project in September, but did not start the travel training until October, as it was felt Ben would manage the change more effectively if he had settled into his work environment.
Ben’s journey involved receiving a lift from his parents to Chippenham railway station catching the train from Chippenham to Bath, and then a bus from Bath Bus Station to the RUH. The travel training included road and personal safety. Scenarios were discussed with Ben of likely situations that could occur, such as; the transport being late, getting on or off the transport in the wrong place, and missing the bus or train.
Ben’s skills and independence developed quickly and within two weeks he was travelling to and from Bath. During Ben’s final assessment he coped well with a situation that made him late for work; phoning ahead to explain. A big step forward for his confidence.
In March, Ben’s mum contacted WITS again as Ben had been offered paid part–time employment at the hospital, working as the grounds man. This meant that his timings would change. Ben also wanted to know how to get from Bath to Chippenham on the bus, so that if the train service was not running when he finished work, he could use the bus.
Ben was the only individual from the Project Search to gain employment. He has been going to work every day and walks to and from home to the train station, whatever the weather. Because of Ben’s reliability and attitude to work the RUH are considering increasing his hours.
“Since I’ve completed my training, it has given me more independence, a job, and the confidence to use other bus services.”
Ben’s parents have seen a big change in his confidence too. When he started the project, they worried about whether he would be able to manage travelling independently. Now they see him happily leave the house to go to work every day.
Due to budget cuts, WITS are no longer funded by Wiltshire Council.
Feedback comments from service users who have completed their travel training through WITS and BANES:
“It was very useful to me and I can travel independently to and from college”
“You had someone to show you the way to the place”
“It allowed our son to learn his journey with someone in ‘authority’ rather than a family member”
“Having someone to show me and help”
“For the first time ever, I go into town to meet friends, I do this regularly”
“I thought the travel assistants were very helpful and friendly, my confidence has improved”
“The people are very friendly and they let you learn at your own pace”
“It was good to have adults with me to help me understand the bus system”
“I like how they gradually let the student do the travel training on their own”
Feedback comments from service users’ parents who have completed their travel training through WITS and BANES:
“I can feel confident that my son can get the bus home safely. It gives us and him confidence that when he goes to college, he will be able to travel independently. It has boosted his self esteem and his happiness and we will now let him do more on his own”
“Travel training made my daughter feel good about herself and that she can achieve new skills. The trainers were very positive and encouraging”
“My daughter found the training very helpful. On her first day, she coped extremely well and even took an earlier bus to college than she’d planned to. I have recommended the service to a friend who has a daughter with special needs”
“It is a well structured course taken at a pace that was suitable for my son. The trainer’s calm presence has enabled my son to build confidence. The degree of thoughtfulness in planning routes and locations that would minimise confusion was outstanding. The process was broken down into manageable steps and I am delighted with the progress my son has made. The trainers are sympathetic and experienced. I am confident that my son can travel independently after completing this training and would highly recommend it”
If you are interested and would like more information please download the BANES Enquiry Form below or contact:
WITS / Banes TS Co-ordinator
Wiltshire Independent Travel Support
The Independent Living Centre
St. George’s Road
The Travel Supporters are:
Page last updated: November 23rd, 2017 at 1:26 pm