Travel support given to Nottingham City Council care leavers
Young people leaving the care of Nottingham City Council are to benefit from free travel on local public transport to help them get started in the next stage of their lives.
A pilot scheme starting this summer will provide care leavers with Robin Hood Network Cards – which allow access to any bus, tram and train operator within the Nottingham metropolitan area.
This trial, which it’s hoped will run for two years, will form part of the council’s wider ‘Local Offer’ for care experienced young people, providing support with accommodation, employment, education and training, health and wellbeing, relationships and participation in society.
Information gathered from this pilot will be used to measure its impact, and will hopefully be instrumental in securing a long-term commitment to support all care leavers nationally.
Funding for this has come through the Bus Service Improvement Plan – a grant from central government to improve bus services across the city region.
Councillor Angela Kandola, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Transport, said: “As we developed our Bus Service Improvement Plan it became clear that there was an opportunity to think a bit differently, not only to deliver great quality public transport, but to support the young people we look after. Improving access to public transport will have many benefits – greater freedom for leisure and socialising as well as the opportunity to explore further educational and employment opportunities.”
Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education, said: “This scheme demonstrates the council’s commitment to treating care experience as a protected characteristic. We have a corporate parental duty to these young people – not just when they are under our care – but moving forward, to ensure they get the best start as they transition to independence. Freedom to travel not only opens up opportunities but is hugely beneficial to social and emotional health.”
A recent care lever said: “You have to rely on yourself all the time, you can sometimes feel isolated. Some people have family or friends they can rely on to give them a lift when they can’t afford to get to work or meet up to do something. I haven’t got that and this support will make a big difference for me.”
Terry Galloway, Care Leaver Local Offer and MD Norman Galloway Homes said,
“I’m super proud of this scheme and where it can lead, how it’s come together so quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts care leavers health and wellbeing and then translating that into hard cash savings for agencies such as the NHS, Justice and DWP. My hope is that other organisations will tip into the pot because they see the fiscal, social and economic benefit of doing more for care leavers. We have built into this scheme review periods, and at those points I’m hoping to get more partners around the table. We know every child entering the care system costs £1.2m in lifetime costs and most of these costs come after care, but the problem is that services after care don’t look out for care experience people, they don’t even know how many of their customers are care experienced. In Nottingham we hope to work that out to provide a blueprint for the Protected Characteristics Campaign”