North Tyneside care leavers to receive free bus and metro travel
The scheme is being operated to give care leavers the best start in adult life.
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Tyne and Wear transport services have announced a brand-new scheme which will offer free bus and Metro travel to young care leavers.
The scheme, which is the first of its kind in the country, will help 112 care leavers, aged between 18 and 25 years old, who have recently left local authority care across North Tyneside.
Recipients of the scheme, which is being funded by the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, will receive a Pop smart card, with an annual Network One season ticket which will provide them with a year’s free travel across Tyne and Wear.
The scheme was first introduced in October 2022 as a pilot, and helped 300 care leavers in Newcastle and Gateshead to make 1,200 bus journeys and 200 Metro journeys.
The pilot was a proven success, and prompted council leaders to continue the scheme to help care leavers in local areas, helping to give them the best start to adult life.
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Councillor Peter Earley, who is the cabinet member responsible for Supporting and Protecting Children at North Tyneside said: “I’m delighted to see the introduction of this scheme in North Tyneside, and even more so with us being the first borough in the country to offer a scheme like this.
“As a local authority, our teams work with so many amazing young people who have real potential to go on and do fantastic things, so free travel to open up more employment or education opportunities when they leave care is exactly the kind of thing we should be promoting.”
The Bus Service Improvement Plan, who are funding the scheme are delivering major investments in the bus network on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee.
Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “The care leavers travel scheme is a real success story and following a successful pilot we are delighted to be able to roll it out to more areas using our Bus Service Improvement Plan funding.
“We cannot overstate the difference that free transport will make to care experienced young people in our area, who are juggling the challenges of learning to live independently with the rising cost of living.”
He continued: “This scheme will make it easier for them to access learning, training and work opportunities, and most importantly will help them to develop the skills to live full, thriving and independent lives as adults.”