EMED Group is supporting a free transport service scheme being provided to care leavers in the West of England and North Somerset. EMED’s Community care division is working with the West of England Combined Authority and our services partners, Via and WeMove, by providing vehicles and drivers for the service.

Formally announced by Dan Norris on 25th October, Mayor of the West of England, the scheme is designed for 18- to 21-year-old care leavers living in the region. This new West of England and North Somerset-wide bus scheme will provide free travel across the West’s 350-plus square mile network – making it one of the largest schemes of its kind in the UK.

Gareth Cadmore, Head of Community Care at EMED Group, explains more, “We’re very proud to support this initiative with our established Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) Service in Bristol and the South West. We’ve allocated 30 vehicles operating locally from our Bedminster and Yate sites to run transport services daily, Monday to Friday from 5am – 10pm.

According to children’s charity Barnado’s, children growing up in care are three times less likely to be in education, employment, or training than other young people their age. They are also more prone to feeling cut off, lonely and isolated, with almost one in five saying they felt lonely always or often.

Gareth adds, “At EMED, our ethos is about supporting people in our communities who need us most. This scheme helps young people get free transport to work or study, appointments, shopping, days out and seeing friends, and by the very nature of it, can prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

Care leavers aged 18- to 21-year-old living in the region can apply for a WESTpass online for their free travel.