Eastbourne mother’s second chance for disabled son’s transport

SUS-161209-160833001
SUS-161209-160833001

An Eastbourne mother fighting for her disabled son’s school transport has secured a second chance to be heard at an appeal panel next week.

Since October, Leanna Forse has been paying £500 a month for her son Billy, 16, to get a taxi to college, as East Sussex County Council ruled the case did not fit the criteria for it to cover the costs.

Billy cannot use public transport as his unique chromosome disorder means that he is like a nine-month-old, both physically and mentally.

While he had always travelled to Hazel Court School through a council-funded taxi, this was revoked when he turned 16 under the county council’s post-16 transport policy, which only covers transport costs in “exceptional circumstances”.

His mother, 36, appealed to an ombudsman and the county council has decided to return the case to the appeal panel for a new hearing on Wednesday (February 8).

Miss Forse, a teacher, whose work schedule means she cannot take him to school herself, said, “It really can go either way. The fact I have no other choice but to pay out £500 a month for a private taxi and escort for Billy at the moment should help but I really don’t know.

“Not knowing what the future holds has caused a lot of stress over the last eight months, so I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

“I can only keep my fingers crossed now that the county council sees sense.

“If they say no, there’s a strong possibility that I’ll be handing my notice in the following week. I can’t afford to keep paying so I can go to work.”