Concept and aims
Hampshire Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and South Western Railway developed the ‘Travel with Confidence’ project to support adults with non-visible disabilities, those with anxieties about travelling post-pandemic, and those without confident access to rail. The scheme involved try the train trips, and led to the production of a resource, ‘Help is at Hand,’ to increase travel confidence by rail and bus.
One of the groups involved in the project was Winchester Go LD, a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities to live full and independent lives. For the second phase of the project, the CRP worked with Go LD staff to devise and deliver a mentoring programme in which Go LD members would deliver travel confidence sessions to groups of their peers from other local organisations, charities, and day care centres.
Winchester Go LD members were consulted to determine the challenges they faced when travelling by train. Feedback was also logged from other groups who had taken part in the initial Travel with Confidence project. This process identified issues such as knowing when and where to ask for help, and difficulties navigating both stations and trains.
The training and mentoring programme consisted of try the train trips, station visits and classroom sessions. Having been involved in the first stage of the programme, Go LD members benefitted from a supported, positive experience of rail travel and station environments, allowing them to become confident in the help that is available. Using their experiences of common travel barriers and ways they can be overcome, they used cue cards with simple visuals to talk groups through the processes of buying tickets, using station help points, using ramps to board and alight trains, and what to do in the events of delays or cancellations.
Since January 2023, 14 Winchester Go LD members have been skilled up as ‘travel trainers’, and supported by staff and volunteers, have led on the delivery of the programme, with 110 people from eight groups of their peers enjoying more than 30 trips by train. Members also co-produced a series of eight training videos to share their lived experience and top tips for other train travellers.
The project was the first time Winchester Go LD had been involved in a scheme shaped and led by participants, and the growth in confidence of its members was described as “immeasurable.” Acting as travel trainers has not only allowed members to pass on vital travel knowledge to support groups with similar needs, it has also developed vital professional and life skills including communication, leadership and social skills.You can find out more about the project here.