Train treat for young adults with learning disabilities

Sussex Community Rail Partnership (‘SCRP’) and local train operating company Southern arranged for a group of young adults with learning disabilities from Canterbury Oast Trust to experience travelling on the train from Ham Street to Brighton.

The initiative encourages vulnerable people, senior citizens or groups of school children to use the train and feel safe.

Kevin Barry, the Community Rail Development officer for the Marshlink line said “ Canterbury Oast Trust have been working closely with SCRP and Southern for some time on a number of projects, but Try The Train was a whole new experience for their service users. When we travel by train we think nothing of it, but for many people it takes a lot of planning in advance of the journey, and they want to know they will be helped and feel safe.”

Kate Richards, Southern’s station manager for the Marshlink line, was also onboard to explain to the travellers what they need to know to enjoy their journey. They also met the guards who reassured them that if they needed any help they were there to guide them.

When they arrived in Brighton, Jim Cummings, Brighton station manager, met the group and laid on a light lunch in the station waiting room.

Alan Davies, lifestyle manager for Canterbury Oast Trust said “For individuals who may not get the opportunity to travel on the train or had not had the experience of this due their circumstances and learning disability, this project was excellent . The railway staff were excellent, warm and helpful putting us and ease and feeling relaxed”