During this week's prestigious Prime Minister's Questions session Dr Neil Hudson MP secured a meeting with top Government ministers to expand on local successes and look at rolling out affordable, sustainable and fair transport for 16-18-year-olds accessing education and training.
In the Chamber, Dr Hudson made specific mention of his campaign win locally securing £500,000 for three local travel schemes to get young people to sixth form, college or apprenticeships.
This included a dedicated bus service to get young folk on Alston Moor - who are 20 miles away from the closest college - to their next step in life. Dr Hudson was joined in this venture by Alston Moor Federation Headteacher Gill Jackson who worked tirelessly to improve her students' options when they move on at 16.
At the core of the issue is that 16-18-year-olds must stay in education or training but are not provided transport access to get there. This issue is compounded in rural Cumbria where public transport challenges due to the region's unique geography can hinder some young people getting to the next stage.
You can watch the full exchange in the House of Commons and read more about this important issue here.
Year 10 and 11 students at Alston Moor Federation - many of whom will next year benefit from the bus Dr Hudson secured - watched the exchange at Prime Minister's Questions. Their comments included:
“It’s nice to know that our voices are being heard.”
“We are grateful and honoured for what you have done for us and hopefully for young people everywhere.”
“We feel invested in and that our futures matter to powerful people. We know education is so important to develop our skills and give us a future.”
“Students up here and in rural areas sometimes feel left out.”
“We hope the promise comes true and students are provided for.”
Gill Jackson, Headteacher of Alston Moor Federation, said:
"We are all very grateful to Dr Neil Hudson for his advocacy of the issue of school transport for our students continuing their education after they leave the school after year 11. The lack of transport to good 6th form provision has hindered so many in the past from reaching their full potential and realising their dreams.
" Dr Hudson’s pragmatic and practical support to secure adequate funding has meant that transport to good 6th form provision isn’t an issue, and our young people can follow their dreams without worrying about how they will get to college. I’m so grateful that the voices of our young people have been heard, and their concerns have been addressed.
"They should all have a brighter future thanks to the fantastic support from our MP.”
Dr Neil Hudson MP added:
"I've said it before but it definitely bears repeating, Gill Jackson has been such a force for good for the Alston Moor community. Her tireless work has improved the lives of so many young folk and their families. A huge thank you again for her service and I wish her well for her retirement.
"We need to overcome issues with post-16 transport that are such a roadblock in the futures of our brilliant young folk up and down the country."