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Harrogate charity helping train taxi drivers in understanding needs of disabled passengers

Pictured are Coun Stuart Martin, Disability Action Yorkshire Training Manager Denise Baynton, Disability Action Yorkshire customer John Bartle and taxi driver Ned Dawson

A has held the first of a series of disability-awareness training sessions for the District’s 500 taxi drivers.

Delivered by Disability Action Yorkshire staff and customers and run in conjunction with ’s licensing team – the three-hour presentation is designed to give drivers a practical understanding of the skills required to relate, and respond, to the mobility needs of disabled people.

Held at Harrogate Borough Council’s offices and led by the charity’s training manager Denise Baynton, topics covered included legislation, rights and responsibilities, definition of a disabled person, skills and a number of do’s and don’ts.

It also featured a question and answer session, demonstration, group discussions and a practical activity where Disability Action Yorkshire customers who are wheelchair users were loaded into taxis.

Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive Jackie Snape said: “This first session was attended by 20 taxi drivers from the across the Harrogate District and was a pilot to ensure it was pitched at the right level.

“I’m delighted to say we received very positive feedback from the council officers and attendees, and the next session will be held in the .”

Mrs Snape added: “For many disabled people their only mode of transport is via a taxi, therefore it’s vital taxi drivers have an understanding of the needs of these passengers.

“I’m very encouraged by the Council’s attitude towards disability awareness, and I believe these training sessions will help reduce unintentional discrimination.

“I hope it will also stimulate other businesses and organisations, not just those in the transport sector, to review awareness of disability policies in their workplaces.”

Councillor Stuart Martin, Chairman of Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee, said: “We are always keen to build on the high standards of service delivered by the District’s taxi drivers and hope that these training sessions help to ensure great journeys for all users.

“We are delighted to be partnering Disability Action Yorkshire who are delivering high quality training for us.

“Being able to interact with disabled people in wheelchairs at the training adds the human touch and makes a real difference to the drivers learning.”

The next training session will be held in the New Year.

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