My Life My Choice is delighted to announce that a grant of £261,135 has been awarded by the Big Lottery Fund to support, grow and develop our Travel Buddy Scheme over the next three years.
The Travel Buddy Scheme works to give people the skills, knowledge and confidence to travel independently, and with this new grant we will increase the number of people we are able to train.
The first part of the Travel Buddy Scheme is one-to-one coaching/mentoring, where an adult with learning disabilities is paid to coach another adult with learning disabilities to travel a particular journey. With the money from the Big Lottery we will coach/mentor 45 people per year so that they can travel independently and access greater opportunities as a result. Our trainers will get to earn more money also!
The second part of the Travel Buddy Scheme is workshop training presented by adults with learning disabilities to groups of their peers to give people the knowledge, skills and confidence to travel independently in their everyday lives. With the money from the Big Lottery Fund we will provide workshop training to over 200 people every year for the three years. Again, our trainers are paid for this as well!
The Travel Buddy Scheme has already had a huge impact on people’s lives. Drew is currently receiving one-to-one travel training from My Life My Choice member Katie, and he said that “I felt isolated, and lonely until I got a travel buddy to help me to learn bus and train journeys, but now I can get by myself much more and I have made new friends and get to talk to more people”.
John, who recently completed his travel training from Headington to Greater Leys in Oxford, said that " When my day centre moved I felt a bit anxious about how I was going to get there. My Life My Choice found me a travel buddy to help me learn the journey and now I can do it on my own."
The Travel Buddy Scheme will be overseen by a group of our 15 trustees, all of whom have learning disabilities and all training, coaching and mentoring will be planned and carried out by people with learning disabilities supported by members of staff. At My Life My Choice we are proud to be an accredited Living Wage Employer and all the people with learning disabilities who work on the Travel Buddy Scheme will be paid at least the Oxford Living Wage of £9.69.
Everyone at My Life My Choice is really excited by the opportunities this grant will open up for people with learning disabilities and is very thankful to the Big Lottery Fund for helping us to improve people’s lives. Yippee!