Barnardo's

Ask the government to make bus travel free for care leavers up to 25

Every year around 10,000 young people leave foster care or residential children’s homes in England, some at 18, some as young as 16.

We know from the care leavers we support that many find this a lonely and isolating experience.

With the average cost of a weekly bus pass over £18, roughly one third of a young person’s weekly Universal Credit allowance, for many care leavers bus travel can feel like a luxury. Yet without it, they often struggle to access work, education, childcare and medical appointments.

It also prevents them from meeting friends and family - the very people who could make them feel connected and part of a community. One young person we support commented:

“If I pay for the bus, I haven’t got enough money for food shopping or to put gas and electric on so I can’t really afford to get the bus.”

That’s why we are calling on the government to fund free bus travel for all care leavers aged 18-25 in England.

Older people and those with an eligible disability already have free bus travel through the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme. We’re calling on the government to extend the scheme to provide a lifeline to care leavers, many of whom are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

This would help care-experienced young people to access jobs, and combat loneliness and isolation through activities such playing sports or having a coffee with a friend. Please support giving care leavers the independence they need to build a brighter future. Add your name to our petition today.

Help care leavers to get the independence they need to build a brighter future. Add your name to our petition today.

Keep in touch (optional)

Join the conversation, change lives.

Your support means the world to the children you're helping.

Be the first to know about the incredible difference we're making together. We'll also share how you can fund life changing work to protect, support and bring out the best in the most vulnerable children across the UK. You may hear from us by post but we would love to keep in touch in other ways too.

You can update your preferences or choose not to receive post from us at any time, just let our Supporter Relations team know on 0800 008 7005 or at [email protected]barnardos.org.uk.

Your information is safe with us. You can find out more in our privacy notice.