On Friday 31 March, as part of Southern’s” Try the Train Trip” initiative, Sussex CRP took a group of eleven young adults from the County Care Group on the train from Redhill station to London Victoria. These young people all have varying degrees of autism, so the opportunity to travel independently, learn how to buy a ticket, get on the correct train, get off at the correct station, use the ticket barrier machine, who to ask if you get confused or even how to find the bathroom could be quite intimidating.
Meeting Redhill station, the group checked the time of the train they wanted to catch and from what platform. With this information in hand, the next task was to queue up to ‘buy’ their tickets – in reality Antony Merlyn, Southern’s Accessibility Manager who met us at Redhill, had already briefed the ticket office staff.
On arrival at Victoria the group were met by a station manager and given a tour of the station, then it was off to McDonalds for a quick lunch (courtesy of Southern), before a walk to Buckingham Palace and then back to Victoria. A quick check of the time of train and the correct platform, and then the to return tired and happy to Redhill.
The group had a great day out, thanks to Southern, but more importantly this type of exercise has taught some of them that they can gain more independence and similarly it teaches that a very simple task such as catching a train can be quite daunting to some members of society.