Dan and Gareth

Gareth and Dan

Dan Bennett and Gareth Williams, LiftTraining learners, 2017

Two young men with learning difficulties were at risk of becoming isolated in their homes because they could not use public transport.

Dan Bennett and Gareth Williams both have autism which means travelling on buses or trains on their own makes them very anxious.

Thanks to LiftTraining, a specialist travel training programme run by National Star, both now have friends, can travel on their own and even have paid work.

‘Dan had few friends and spent most of his day in his bedroom,’ said his mother Debbie Bennett. ‘Now Dan has made friends and they travel all over the place. The training has made a huge change to his life.’

Now Dan has paid part-time work.

Gareth, aged 17, also travels on his own now, and is able to access a full-time college course.

‘He lacked confidence and wasn’t comfortable about handling money. The noise and the people on board would make him very anxious,’ said Gareth’s mum Sue.

The LiftPlus Training Project enables young people with complex disabilities, acquired brain injuries and learning difficulties to use public transport independently.

The project is run in partnership with Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Office and BBC Children in Need.

Mr Chris Brierley, Deputy Police and Crimtaffe Commissioner for Gloucestershire, met Dan and Gareth to find out how the scheme has changed their lives.

‘It was lovely to meet Dan and Gareth and their mothers, for me it really showed me why it’s important the Commissioner’s Fund supports schemes like LiftTraining,’ he said.

‘Both Dan and Gareth would be isolated but for the great work done by National Star College and the LiftTraining programme.

‘Since 2012 the Commissioner’s fund has supported over 360 projects/initiatives all aimed at working with communities, organisations and the voluntary sector to make the county a safer place for us all to live and work in.’

Keep reading

Continuing reading the inspiring stories from National Star’s 50-year history.

Journey through our history

Find out how we’ve been realising the aspirations of people with disabilities since we first opened our doors in 1967.

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