Now that Rene can travel independently, he can now stay at school for clubs and doesn’t have to sit at home. He feels more positive and focused and wants to get a job in the future and have his own apartment.
Talking about his Independent Travel Training experience, Rene said ‘Before travel training I went to school in the taxi so I couldn’t do clubs after school. Now I’m more independent I can go out where and when I want to. I feel really positive, I concentrate more and I feel focused.
‘Now I go to a performing drama club on Saturdays and then after I catch the bus to meet my mum at church in Thornton Heath. I go to Heart and Soul club which is once a month. I go with one of my friends to Camberwell after college on Wednesday and we go to church youth club. I’m learning to play guitar and I sing with the group.
‘In the future I want to live on my own in an apartment and learn to drive. I will have to pay bills. I need to work for money for bills and so that I can have a family, get married and then we can go on holidays to many places that I’ve never been to.
‘If I hadn’t done travel training I couldn’t go to the clubs after college, or to Heart and Soul or any other places. I would be at home.’
Rene’s parent has also seen the impact, saying ‘I was worried about the training, apprehensive because Rene sometimes wanted to stop people arguing if he saw it in public, step in and stop them. I worried because there are people who carry knives and I worried he would get hurt. So I kept him close for protection. When the travel training coordinator came to my house and I met the travel trainers I felt very reassured, they kept me up-to-date with his progress, I was happy with the work.
‘We plan journeys together now. Rene tells me where he wants to go and then we talk and make plans together. He always contacts me by phone when he gets to places and he tells me if he’s running late. Sometimes I help him by going on a journey a few times with him so he’s confident about the way but then he can do it by himself.
‘To other parents I would say that I was reassured by the information from the independent travel training team, they told me so much information. It made me feel so much better and I would recommend it to other people so much. Rene is so confident and he knows about lots of clubs and now he knows how to get there so he can do so many different things. It’s been very good for him.’