Around 50 people with mobility impairments and learning disabilities who have never or infrequently travelled on a train before have been shown just how easy it is from start to finish by Southern at Worthing station.
Southern’s newest passengers came from Bramshaw House in Worthing, Grace Eyre centres, Speak Up in Burgess Hill, West Sussex based Aldingbourne Trust, Sussex charity Impact Initiatives, United Response in Littlehampton, Egalite Care in Worthing and Royal Mencap. They were invited by Southern to come along to Worthing station to show that travelling by train was not something to be worried about and just how easy it is to find their way around a station, how to buy a ticket, how to use automatic ticket gates and what it’s like to travel on a train.
Southern’s Accessibility Manager, Kirsty Monk said: “The main point of the days were to help people with disabilities overcome their fears of train travel they may have, and to enable them to be more independent by encouraging use of the station facilities and travel on the train to Chichester. It was aimed at being a fun day out by train with support from Southern staff from across the business. This has been a tremendous success and I ‘m sure we’ve achieved those goals.”
As well as being shown how to use the station’s facilities, the groups were given a special treat of a demonstration of Southern’s state of the art train driving simulator which is based at the station’s training centre, before being whisked away to Chichester where cream teas at the Cathedral were the order of the day.
Kirsty Monk added: “The serious point to the exercise is that there is nothing to fear, and this was reinforced as we made the day memorable and fun, with lots of laughs and interaction with the station staff. I hope the word spreads and that these and many more people decide to give the train a try.”
Mel Simmonds from Aldingbourne Trust said: “Thanks for making our Try a Train Day on such a fantastic experience. The candidates were all really relaxed, happy and felt really listened to, which was wonderful. For Caroline and I, the chance to understand all the facilities that you have in place, really helps us to encourage our candidates to travel by train, knowing that they will be well cared for. Being able to travel by train definitely opens up job opportunities that would not otherwise be available to our candidates.”