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Age UK’s Hayley Baxter guides Southern Vectis bus driver and customer promise ambassador, Russell Jenness

southernvectissimulationsuit2Southern Vectis has been working in partnership with Age UK to ensure its services are accessible for customers with dementia, sensory impairments and mobility issues. 

The bus operator already offers safe havens and safe journey cards to make travelling in the region a more comfortable experience for older people. And now its drivers are undergoing special training as part of the Age Friendly Island project, a multi-partner project led by Age UK Isle of Wight and funded by Big Lottery.

Southern Vectis operations manager, Steve Roscoe said:

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“We are committed to improving travel for people with dementia – and that includes training our drivers to be even more aware of how older people, and those with mobility and sensory issues, may struggle to move from place to place.

“Age UK has developed a special Age Friendly session, which includes the opportunity for our team to wear simulation suits, glasses and ear defenders. They have been experiencing how a large number of people struggle on a daily basis.

“Our Customer Promise ambassadors were the first to try out the training session – but it will be rolled out across the entire workforce over the coming months.”

Emma Lincoln, Age UKIW’s Age Friendly Island development officer added:

“Southern Vectis has come a long way, working with the Age Friendly Island team in this ground-breaking initiative.

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“It’s the first of its kind within the UK’s transport industry, and we’re impressed by Southern Vectis’ willingness to make improvements for its older passengers. The firm has clearly been doing a lot already – including tips for safer travel agreed by the Age Friendly Island steering group – and I’m delighted by the way our partnership is progressing.”

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