As part of the NHS Young Health Champions Project, young people worked towards their independence travelling on public transport. Independent travel is essential for reducing isolation and promoting health and happiness. The Young Health Champions went through 4 stages to become independent travellers. The Young Health Champions are now looking to devise an accredited on line course for others. If you are a parent of an 11-25 year old and you think they might be interested in becoming a Young Health champion, please ring 01743 277593 or check out our Facebook page for more info. https://www.facebook.com/Shropshire-Young-Health-Champions-1524960241060756/timeline/
It’s good to talk
It’s important to remember that just by discussing with our children their fears and worries we can allay unfounded fears and reiterate safety concerns as well as teach them how to cope with difficult situations. It also gives you a chance to raise your concerns and assess their competence and readiness in carrying out a journey on their own. Communication is key and will help you both feel safe and confident through this transition period.
Imagine a journey
If you feel your young person is starting to get ready to travel on their own, then try and get them to use online resources to plan an imaginary journey. How much would the ticket cost? What time does the bus go? What do I say to the driver when I get on the bus? How do you get to the bus stop? How do you read a bus time table?
Being safe is important for young people so they can take their first steps in to independence. Talk about how they might handle difficult situations? Who are safe people to go for help – bus driver, shop keeper etc? Find safe places for your young person to go if things go wrong for example Wilko’s in Shrewsbury Town Centre is a safe place where the staff are happy to help any young person in distress. The Town Centre library is also a good place for them to head to and tell a member of the library staff.
Make sure they have a mobile phone that is charged and has credit and they have their ICE numbers (In Case of Emergency Numbers) saved in their phone.
If you would like to build their confidence further, First Aid courses are available through St Johns Ambulance or Red Cross and self-defence classes are available through Cotterill Martial Arts. Contact Paul on 07967293109, who delivered a fantastic self-defence workshop for our young Health Champions.
Paul (Cotterill Martial Arts) explaining to our Young Health Champions how to get out of a grab hold in his self-defence workshop.
St Johns Ambulance explaining to our Young Health Champions how to deliver CPR.
Rural areas have their own difficulties as there is rarely anyone else around. It is important they have a taxi firm number in their phone so that if they are stranded for any reason they can get a taxi and you can pay for the journey on arrival. Remember use a reputable taxi firm, some of them will have all their drivers police checked. Make sure your child knows how to check the taxi badge and reassure themselves it is a genuine taxi firm and driver. Make sure the taxi firm’s number is one of their ICE numbers.
Remember if you or your child has any problems whilst travelling you have a right to complain. Our young people deserve to be treated with respect and kept safe on public transport.
Before you let your young teen travel on their own allow them to practice with you, a member of your family, or an older sibling or peer. Practice is essential for building confidence. It allows young people to watch, try out new skills and take control in a safe environment. You may start with getting them to ask for a ticket, or carrying the money, or just pressing the bell for the right stop – so they are looking out for where they get off. Remember to celebrate successes and get them involved in where they might want to go for their first independent outing. Be sure that you are both happy with their travel goal, for example to go bowling with friends and it will make the experience less stressful for both of you.