Helping young people in Havering to go a long way in life

Joe Beasley receives his award from the Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe.

Joe Beasley receives his award from the Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe. - Credit: Archant

For some young people getting to school every day is a task in itself. Sometimes it may be a disability or their special needs that has prevented them from travelling.

Joe Beasley receives his award from the Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe.

Joe Beasley receives his award from the Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe. - Credit: Archant

Overcoming these obstacles can be the first step in gaining their independence.

With the help of a travel training programme, teenagers aged 13 to 16 at Dycorts School in Harold Hill have received individual training.

It includes helping them to travel on their own from home to school, college and work experience.

Karen Taylor, who has co-ordinated the programme, said: “They are given individual intensive support to gain skills in road safety, planning their route using public transport and are educated in essential life skills to ensure that they are able to travel as safely as possible at all times.”

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She added: “Each student has a training programme tailored towards their individual needs and ability, and many of them have achieved huge success in overcoming different degrees of difficulty.

“Parents have been so supportive and have expressed how much travel training has changed the lives of both the pupil and the family.”

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Karen said it has led to the young people having much greater confidence, increased self-esteem and a lot more freedom. It has opened up opportunities for future employment that were not possible before.

She added: “They also have a better quality of social life, where students meet outside of school to use local leisure facilities and to go shopping to Romford or Lakeside, something many parents never thought their child would ever be able to do.”

Maureen Calvey is a foster parent to Tania who has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and learning difficulties.

She said before the training Tania would not leave the house without her but now she has gained the confidence to travel alone.

“Tania used to travel on the Havering Transport School Bus before she started the programme,” she said.

“This has improved her life beyond belief. Karen [Taylor] has been our saviour and worked hard with my girl to open up her world and communicated closely with me to help Tania to achieve success by being able to travel on her own.

“Tania is now a confident young lady who I can trust to travel on buses totally independently, something I never believed would happen. Before this training she wouldn’t go out of the house without me.”

Joe Beasley, 18, is a former pupil at the school but used the programme to be able to travel from his home in Rainham to Dycorts School in Harold Hill. He now attends Barking and Dagenham College and has received a Jack Petchey Award for his development and achievement.

His mother Sue said: “When the opportunity for Joe to do travel training first came, I was concerned because of Joe’s vulnerability that it might be too much for him.

“But the programme and Karen Taylor’s expert support and guidance has empowered Joe to become exceedingly more confident in being an independent traveller on public transport.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for vulnerable young people like Joe in allowing them to reach their full potential.”

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