YW March 2024 newsletter (English)

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Young Wales Newsletter March 2024 www.childreninwales.org.uk
Welsh Youth Parliament calls to remove barriers to sustainable travel Navigating Wales: An International Student’s Unexpected Adventure Transport for Wales engages with the Young Person’s Guarantee Board (YPG) Young Wales Residential 2 | childreninwales.org.uk 4 6 7 8
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Welsh Youth Parliament calls to remove barriers to sustainable travel

In October 2023, The Welsh Youth Parliament’s Climate and Environment Committee launched its report ‘Sustainable Ways’ that focused on understanding young people’s attitudes towards different modes of travel, and understanding the barriers that stop them from travelling more sustainably.

As Poppy Jones, the Welsh Youth Parliament Member for Arfon put it:

‘The most important issue for me is the stability of our climate. It can’t be seen, smelt, touched or heard and yet it affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. Humanity is literally skating on thin ice.’

In Wales, 17% of all carbon emissions are generated from transport, which is why they decided to focus on looking at sustainable travel by active travel or public transport to help reduce emissions.

In the consultation phase, 1,300 young people completed the survey, and events, sessions with schools and youth forums were held across Wales.

The report found that 2/3 of young people are conscious of the environmental impact of their chosen mode of transport and that 74% of young people said that they would use public transport more if it was free. The survey also found that many groups are marginalised from a positive public transport experience.

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Navigating Wales: An International Student’s Unexpected Adventure

Navigating Wales’ transportation system as a 25-year-old international student has been an eye-opening experience in many respects. My regular travel partners back home were a twowheeler or a private vehicle. While convenient, public transportation was rarely my first option. But things are very different here in Wales.

Unquestionably, the Welsh countryside is incredibly beautiful, but getting there calls for a different strategy. Even while they’ve improved, public transportation alternatives in rural places can still be scarcer than in my previous experience. Buses arrive and depart less often, which makes impromptu travel and attending events outside of the city centre logistically challenging. Frequent travel can also be expensive, particularly for students on a tight budget.

But these restrictions have made me appreciate other forms of transportation even more. Sturdy bike routes give a beautiful and healthful way to get around, but walking offers a closer look at the stunning scenery and the local way of life. Activities that were secondary in my hometown

have evolved into my favourite method to discover this nation’s stunning neighbourhoods. My experience in Wales has highlighted the importance of considering diverse perspectives when planning transportation solutions. While navigating unfamiliar systems can be challenging, it also fosters understanding and appreciation for different approaches.

The next time you see other travellers—whether they are locals riding bikes or tourists traveling by car—remember that every journey is different and is formed by the needs and viewpoints of the individual. Together, we can create a transportation network that meets the needs of all, guaranteeing a comfortable and sustainable travel experience for coming generations.

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Girija Deshmukh

Transport for Wales engages with the Young Person’s Guarantee Board (YPG)

In November 2023, the Young Person’s Guarantee Board participated in a session with Transport for Wales (TfW). This session provided an invaluable opportunity for the board to gain insights into TfW’s operations across Wales, while also sharing their feedback and raising queries based on their own experiences while using the services.

The board highlighted key observations and concerns to improve the public transportation experience for young people in Wales. Here are a few points that was raised:

• 16-25 National Rail railcard conditions and limitations on usage.

• Experience of disabled passengers and Issues such as challenges for priority seating, there is not enough support for passengers with non-visible disabilities, unsuitable toilets, and lack of station assistance were raised.

• Affordability and overcrowding: Rising train prices and overcrowded trains

• Technological issues: Wi-Fi functionality and difficulties in barcode recognition on bus services were identified as areas needing improvement.

• Support for vulnerable groups: Suggestions for greater subsidies for travel to educational institutions, better support for refugees and asylum seekers, emphasising the need for inclusivity and accessibility in transportation services.

Transport for Wales were committed to examining and addressing the concerns raised by the board and are aiming to give their feedback in the next few weeks.

If you would like to get involved in the Young Person’s Guarantee Board or for more information please contact rachel.clement@childreninwales.org.uk

Young Wales Residential

Young Wales Volunteers participated in our residential at Abernant Manor Adventure in February 2024. Having hosted residentials for Young Wales Volunteers in all fourth quadrants across Wales, Abernant Manor Adventure was an ideal location in mid Wales. Welsh Government officials attended the sessions in person and interacted with young people on a more personal level. Transport arrangements were provided for participants travelling from North, East, South and Wast Wales. Out of 31 attendees, only two young people arrived via their own transport. Two cars, a minibus and a coach were used to transport children and young people to Abernant Manor Adventure.

Transport needs are essential to consider when organising a residential. It is important that we provide access to everyone who is interested in engaging with the work, no individuals should be left out due to their personal circumstances. Because of this, the group were able to engage in a wide range of opportunities provided at the residential. This included sessions with the groups and boards run by Young Wales, consultations, training and Young Wales Festival planning. As a thank you for their participation, young people could engage in additional activities with a balance of outdoor and indoor options. These included activities like Aeroball, survival skills, film studies, blind train and film/ games nights.

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