Why travel operators need to get on board the accessibility train

Ruth Owen by Ruth Owen
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It was as last week’s blog was being written that the news of Doug Paulley’s successful Supreme Court case against First Buses was breaking, highlighting once again the enormous difficulties that persist for wheelchair users simply trying to get from A to B using public transport.

It is particularly heartening, then, that this week a group of our young Ambassadors in Wales are making waves on the same issue, as part of our ongoing Get on Board Campaign.

Yesterday, four of our wonderful, engaged Welsh Ambassadors – Josh, Ayesha, Alex and Sam – took the findings of their travel petition to the Senedd, the home of the Welsh Assembly, and presented them to Assembly members.

The young people at our Cardiff Ambassador Club have been working incredibly hard to campaign for improvements to public transport. All have had difficulties with taxis, buses and trains over the years and their independence – as well as their ability to access the world of work – is being compromised by not being able to travel as they need to.

As such, we’re incredibly grateful to Assembly members Mike Hedges, Gareth Bennett, Janet Finch-Saunders and their team at the Senedd, not only for taking the time to meet with our Ambassadors, but also engaging with this important issue head on. We look forward to seeing the next steps of this campaign in Wales, and hope it is the first steps towards positive change.

This week I also had the privilege of meeting with our wonderful Patron Nina Hossain. Nina, as you know, has been a long-time supporter of Whizz-Kidz’s work, and it was great to spend time with her and discuss our plans with her for the year. We’re thrilled that this year she’s going to pull on her running shoes and join #TeamWhizzKidz in running the London Marathon. This is testament to the huge commitment Nina has shown to supporting our work, and I hope you’ll join me in wishing her the very best of luck with her training!

On the subject on training – I’m making steady progress in my own ski training so far this year! I’ve been so inspired by the #NoLimitz moments of our young people, that my own efforts have redoubled. Three times a week doing boxing and weights in the gym is exhausting, but I am determined to hit the slopes this year!

Finally, we had some really brilliant news at Whizz-Kidz HQ at the end of last week; we received confirmation that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has given us ‘Investing in Volunteers’ accreditation. IiV accreditation is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers in their work, and demonstrates excellence in providing volunteering opportunities.

I am so proud of the team for achieving this; it is the result of a great deal of hard work, and recognises the incredible commitment not only of our fantastic volunteers, but also the staff here at Whizz-Kidz HQ who support them.

Until next time,

Ruth. 

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