How should transport to get looked after children to musical activity be managed?

Why this is an important question

Looked after children and young people often have a long way to travel to a session. For the younger ones this will usually be by foster carer car or by taxi. Transport takes up a substantial part of the  resource provided by different partners for the project  in cash or in kind. Formal or informal aspects of the transport system can affect the smooth-running of the project. Many music organisations have limited experience of engagement with these transport systems.

Towards answers

Building a relationship with those in CYPS and other relevant organisations responsible for administering transport systems will ensure all parties understand each others’ needs.

There are implications for

  • Location of the project – and timing (taking note of traffic patterns)
  • Working alongside foster carers from the start – they are your biggest advocates and if they see the benefit of the work they may support with transport too.
  • Liaison with taxi drivers so that the sessions end appropriately and not under the pressure of jangling keys.

Where older looked after children are travelling a long way, it may be appropriate to pay travel expenses and incentivise in other ways.

Illustrations from practice

(Taken from music projects funded by Sing Up and Youth Music)

"Transport wasn’t as big an issue as I’d expected – probably because the CYPS staff member in charge of transport was really good as well as being keen on our project."
(Project Manager)

"One partnership set out to see those taxi drivers who were regularly involved in driving young people to the sessions as part of the overall project: encouraging young people to teach them the songs and inviting those who were available to the final concert!"
(Project review)

"We adopted a policy of localism where possible. Our authority is so large geographically that both for ease of access to our project and to developing progression routes and sustainability in the longer run, we focused on smaller geographical areas. Obviously fewer looked after children to ‘choose’ from but this didn’t in the end make the groups unviable and there are signs of embedding."
(Project report)

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