After repeatedly calling for fair, affordable and sustainable post-16 transport, Dr Neil Hudson MP for Penrith and The Border, has secured the extension of three travel schemes worth £500,000 to help rural Cumbrian young people reach the next stage of their training.
The MP for Penrith and The Border has been repeatedly calling on local councils to step up and provide funding so 16-18-year-olds can access training and education. Unfortunately, all too often young people in rural Cumbria are forced to pay eye-watering amounts or take negative life-changing decisions when faced with remote transport challenges. This has a huge impact on their attainment, wellbeing and wider society.
Already Dr Hudson had secured funding for young people on Alston Moor who were previously forced to travel more than 20 miles to the nearest college without recourse to transport. Thanks to the Penrith MP there is now a daily bus to take children to New College, Durham. You can read more about this here.
While Dr Hudson secured this funding under the old council system, with local government reorganisation the Cumbrian MP had to press decision makers to take the baton forward so young rural folk are not disadvantaged by their postcode. You can read an open letter here.
Councillors have responded positively to Dr Hudson’s campaign and requests, and approved a one-off expenditure of £500,000 to extend three schemes set up by Eden District Council before its dissolution for the next academic year.
- The Eden Travel Bursary Scheme, which supports rural young to access training and learning, who would otherwise be impeded by transport challenges. This scheme will now be extended across the whole of Westmorland and Furness. Dr Hudson paid tribute to the council when the scheme was launched. Find that here.
- The Inspiring Eden Land Based Travel Bursary Scheme which was implemented to maintain adequate access to land-based education and is operated by Myerscough College and Ullswater Community College. Dr Hudson recently visited Myerscough to see how to partnership is developing to address sector-specific challenges in the long-term. More on that here.
- The Inspiring Eden Sixth Gorm Bus Scheme which takes young people from Alston Moore to New College, Durham. Dr Hudson and Alston Moor Federation head, Gill Jackson, were instrumental in implementing this service and Dr Hudson was invited to cut the ribbon. More details here.
This is an incredible step forward for our rural young people, but Dr Hudson has urged council leaders to make this an annual contribution to ensure no one is left behind by inadequate rural transport.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said:
“The power of education really cannot be overstated; allowing people to reach their full potential, bridging the divides within society and boosting the economy. That is why I am so pleased young people in rural Cumbria can now benefit from a £500,000 package to help overcome the transport challenges they face due to their postcodes.
"I must thank the Cumbrian public for their support on this. I've been fighting on this issue for a long time and so to secure this funding is really quite moving, not just for me but for the young people who are now better able to achieve their goals and improve their lives.
“I thank Westmorland and Furness Council for listening and responding to my campaign, and funding these programmes for the next academic year. I would now urge decision-makers to make this an annual part of the council budget so future generations can harness the full power of education.”