Eastbourne mother speaks at Parliament on disabled son’s transport

Leanna (left) with Caroline Ansell MP and Becky Whippy of Embrace
Leanna (left) with Caroline Ansell MP and Becky Whippy of Embrace
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An Eastbourne mother teamed up with the MP to speak in Parliament this week about her battle to get her disabled son to college.

Leanna Forse’s son, Billy, lost his county-sponsored travel when he turned 16 – even though the nature of his disability had not changed. Now she is campaigning for a change in policy.

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has supported the single mother and encouraged her to share her story and address the School Transport Inquiry Evidence Session in Parliament.

Leanna said, “It was really good. I cried. I made the people listening cry. A successful speech!”

The charity, Contact a Family, asked Mrs Ansell to host and chair the session which will form a key part of their national inquiry into the experiences of families with disabled children and the challenges they face accessing their education.

It brought together parent carers, transport providers, researchers and was attended by Department for Education officials.

Mrs Ansell said, “Leanna was brilliant. Becky Whippy from Embrace, East Sussex, who has been her constant advocate, brought important legal insight to the session, and for my part I was delighted to welcome them here.

“This is reportedly a top three issue for families who have contacted the charity and on the first day they launched this enquiry. More than 1,000 responses were made.

“The session really did shine a light on a very particular issue, that of a seeming gap in provision after 16 and before adult funding starts.

“I believe this event will begin to raise more awareness in Parliament and in Government and I’m pleased this enquiry will make recommendations and report to ministers.”

Contact a Family wants to hear from the people of Eastbourne about their experiences to help shape decisions over how to improve school transport for disabled children in the UK.

To contribute, follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SchoolTransportInquiry