Deadline looming for education travel grant scheme

Time is running out for young people to apply for a new grant scheme to help pay for travel to access education and training.

Applications for Westmorland and Furness Council’s 16 to 19 Education Travel Bursary Fund will close at noon on 20 October 2023.

The fund is aimed at supporting young people in Westmorland and Furness to pay for transport for educational purposes – whether that be bus, train, taxis, fuel costs for private transport or even students who travel by bicycle.

Since it launched on August 24, the council has paid out 248 grants worth a total of £181,908.

Click here to find out more information and details about how to apply.

The scheme is one of 14 projects representing £5m of priority investments for Westmorland and Furness agreed by the council’s Cabinet. The projects reflect the new council’s key priorities for the area, including funding for local areas, biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education.

Councillor Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to provide this vital funding to so many young people from all corners of Westmorland and Furness and reduce one of the major barriers to accessing education and training.

“Westmorland and Furness Council is an inclusive council and projects like this help make sure opportunities are available to all, while also promoting low carbon and active travel solutions.”

Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “Officers have worked extremely hard to ensure that this money can be accessed by as many young people as possible, utilising a wide range of modes of transport from public transport to cycling.

“If you are a young person in education or training and haven’t applied, please have a look on the website and get an application in before the deadline.”

The bursary works on a sliding scale, dependent on how far away the student lives from their place of education. Students who travel by bicycle will be eligible to claim a one-off grant, irrespective of how far they travel.

Eden District Council ran a pilot travel bursary scheme last year, with two projects which will continue to receive funding this year:

  • Alston Moor Federation is continuing to provide affordable, subsidised bus transport for students to attend sixth form at New College, Durham in 2023-24. This is done via a transport service from Alston, collecting young people from Nenthead and along Weardale each day.
  • Myerscough College is receiving support for a non-means tested subsidy for their students accessing provision delivered by Myerscough in Westmorland and Furness.

Other support is available from Westmorland and Furness Council.
If you are under 19 years of age on 1 September 2024, come from a low income family and you are studying a full time course (a minimum of 17 hours per week), you may be eligible for free Post 16 (low income) transport.

This is available to students in full-time education, who live over three miles from their catchment sixth form or nearest college offering the vocational area they are studying and whose parent or carer is on one of a range of benefits.  Click here to find out more about free Post 16 (low income) transport.

The A2B Now card – a reduced fare bus travel card for 5-20 year olds living in Westmorland and Furness outside school travel times – is also available for young people to help them access leisure, sports, social participation and culture.

Residents aged between five and 20 years old can apply for the pass, which costs £10 per year.

It is valid on local bus services within Westmorland and Furness and entitles holders to bus travel for £1.80 (single) and £3 (return). If the normal fare is less than this travellers will pay the normal fare.

Application forms for the A2B Now card are available at all libraries in Westmorland and Furness. Or click here to download the application form or find out more details.

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