Safe Places network will aid travellers

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aN initiative to make travelling across Kirklees easier for people with learning disabilities has been launched this week.

The project is being led by mental health charity Mencap, with support from West Yorkshire Police and Metro, while funding will be provided by Kirklees Council.

The aim of the Safe Place project is to provide a network of designated points across the public transport network where passengers with learning disabilities can go for help if they get lost or face other difficulties while travelling independently.

It is planned to have the network in place from September but the first step in its development took place this week with a meeting at Kirklees Mencap’s Huddersfield headquarters.

Public transport users with learning disabilities have been invited to tell the participating organisations where they can best direct their efforts in setting up Safe Place sites.

Metro chairman Coun James Lewis said: “This is an excellent scheme and builds upon the work Metro has already done to support the introduction of Safe Places at its bus stations in Bradford and Leeds.

“Nearly 200 million journeys are made by bus each year in West Yorkshire and the Safe Place scheme provides a good way of giving learning disabled people the extra confidence to get out and about, safe in the knowledge that assistance is available if needed.”

Samantha Jones of Mencap in Kirklees added: “We hope that this scheme will leave people with learning disabilities feeling a lot more confident to travel around Kirklees.”

PCSO Steve Lowman of the Huddersfield South Neighbourhood Police Team said: “This scheme will see the police and our partners providing even better levels of service for disabled people who rely on public transport, but can at times find it challenging.

“By having these Safe Places across the district, people will be aware of where they can find help and support while they use our trains and buses.”