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 ollie.cowan@champnews.com
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 (3063452)
Petition launched to save disabled transport services
by Ollie Cowan


A MOTHER from Formby has kick started a petition to stop Sefton Council from axing school transport for disabled children and young people.

Joanne Allman, who works for national charity, Teaching Autism, set up the petition after Sefton Council revealed proposals to change the council's transport policy for post 16 students with a view to promoting independent travel for young people with disabilities.

The proposals are currently under consultation and people can have their say by completing a questionnaire on the Sefton Council website before March 30.

Currently there are 927 supporters of the campaign but there needs to be 2,750 for it to be considered at the full council.

Joanne is hoping the people of Sefton will get behind her petition and help her teach the target.

She said: “Sefton Council is proposing to axe post 16 school and college transport for disabled children and young people including those with severe learning difficulties and wheelchair users.

”The council is presenting this as an opportunity for young people to develop independence skills, and is offering a programme comprising a ‘Travel Training' scheme and a security/tracking device with the aim of enabling children and young people to travel to and from school or college independently.

“However, the most severely disabled children and young people in the borough, wheelchair users, children with profound and complex difficulties, do not have the necessary skills to access this support, nor will they be able to travel to school or college independently.

”Under the new proposals, parents of these children will be forced to take responsibility for their transport to and from school or college.

“Sadly, it appears that the most severely disabled children and young people in the community will be the most adversely affected by the proposed changes, and their already hard-pressed families will be put under even greater pressure.

”I feel it is patently unjust to target cost-saving measures at the most vulnerable in society, and that it is tantamount to penalise families because their children’s disabilities prevent them from accessing the support offered by the Council.“

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: ”We are consulting on changes to the Council’s Transport policy for Post 16 students with a view to promoting independent travel for young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND).

“If the policy change is approved, this transport would only continue to be provided for new students in accordance with the Council’s statutory duties including beyond statutory walking distances and those on low incomes.

”When the consultation is complete we will write a report which will tell you what comments and views we have received to inform the plans for the proposed changes.“

To sign the petition visit www.change.org and search for Sefton Council.






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