Safer taxi travel for disabled children

By on 22/02/2010 in News

 

***Photo opportunity***

Date: Wednesday 24th February
Time: 10am
Venue: Council House, Victoria Square B1 1BB

Following the tragic death in February 2009 of a 14-year-old Birmingham girl whose wheelchair was not properly secured during a taxi ride home from hospital, young disability Champions in Birmingham have been instrumental in creating a national campaign to ensure that young wheelchair users stay safe when travelling by public transport, particularly taxis.

Returning an accidental verdict on the tragic death, Birmingham coroner Aiden Cotter called for compulsory use of restraints and recommended that disability discrimination training form part of the terms of taxi drivers' licences.

Young disabled people have subsequently created the 'Please Care, Secure My Chair', campaign, with leaflets and badges to be distributed to all schools, libraries, leisure centres, youth services and Children's Society projects to be displayed by wheelchair users.

Drivers will receive a corresponding 'I Care, I Will Secure Your Chair' sticker to display in their taxis and vehicles.

Champion Tony Phillips-Jones (a post jointly funded by Birmingham City Council and the Children’s Society) has been working with Young Champions Katie, Kerri and Robert, as well as the council, Birmingham Safeguarding Children's Board and the Children's Society to create the campaign. It aims to ensure that all public transport services across the city should:

• discuss how to minimise risks when supporting individuals using transport and complete a risk assessment
• use a taxi booking form to ensure the needs of the disabled person are communicated to the transport company
• meet, greet and say goodbye to the disabled person when they enter and depart to ensure they are safely secured
• take immediate action if driver or passenger have any safety concerns and remember that disabled people who have difficulties communicating need an advocate to ensure their safe transport
• share good practice guidelines via the Champion web pages
• www.birmingham.gov.uk/champ

Councillor Les Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, comments:

“This is a really positive campaign and will help young people who have physical disabilities to feel safe using taxis, which is a great boost to their confidence regarding travelling independently.”

Dr. Anne Aukett, Regional Clinical Lead - Safeguarding Children, said:

“This is a really good piece of collaborative work bringing together the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, The Disabled Children and Young People Board and of course the Young People themselves. It will make a real difference to the safety of disabled young people in Birmingham.”

Pete Barrow, Head of Licensing at Birmingham City Council, said:

“This campaign raises the profile of how wheelchair users need to be safe while using transport, especially taxis. We are supporting the campaign by sending out the leaflet and stickers to all 1,500 registered black cabs across Birmingham”.

Tony Phillips-Jones said:

“This shows how disabled young people can make a difference to the way in which services are accessed and delivered across the city. It communicates the key messages about safe transport needs of wheelchair users and enables them to have choice about how to get the message across to adults. This campaign also has significance for other councils across the UK and I hope it will encourage them to adopt a similar approach.”

Katie Stafford, 21, from Birmingham, who helped to develop the leaflet and stickers, said:

“The campaign is really good and needed, but now it's got to be put into action, so that all disabled children and young people are safe. If it is not adhered to, we need to kick butts and make sure it is”.

Kerri Webley, 16, from Birmingham, who helped to develop the leaflet and stickers, said:

“The campaign is eye catching and will open people's eyes on keeping disabled children and young people safe while travelling. We need to be assured that if the taxi shows the logo the driver is trained and knows how to support us”.

********* Young disability Champions will launch the campaign outside the Council House at 10am on Wednesday. A black cab will be positioned on Victoria Square to draw attention to the event *********

Copies of the leaflet and stickers by phoning 0121 303 7217 or by emailing the Champion at champ@birmingham.gov.uk

ENDS

For more information please contact Shahid Naqvi on 0121 303 3635 shahid.naqvi@birmingham.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

Additional information can also be found on the Champion web pages www.birmingham.gov.uk/champ

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