A grant scheme for young people facing financial barriers to travelling for education, learning and training is set to be introduced in Westmorland and Furness.
The 16 to 19 Travel Bursary Fund will provide financial support to help students overcome the cost of transport so they can remain in education and training.
The bursary is intended for young people who are experiencing difficulty in paying for transport for educational purposes.
With funding of £500,000 earmarked, the fund will open to applications on August 24 – GCSE results day.
The scheme is one of 14 projects representing £5m of priority investments for Westmorland and Furness agreed by the council's Cabinet.
The projects reflect the new council’s key priorities for the area, including funding for local areas, biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education.
Councillor Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services, said: "Investment in transport in this way can have a positive and life-changing impact on the prospects and life chances of young people, especially those living in more remote areas, and also benefit businesses by helping promote skills and create the workforce necessary to meet the needs of our economy. I very much look forward to seeing how this project develops and the good it will do."
The fund will reduce inequalities, support access to opportunity for younger people who are less likely to have access to a car, or who live in rural areas and have to travel significant distances to access education, develop and retain higher level skills and help to address the skills gaps by reducing the barriers to skills and employment, as well as promoting low carbon and active travel solutions help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cabinet member for Children's Services, Education and Skills, said: "We recognise that transport plays a vital role in providing access to education and skills, particularly in rural locations, and are committed to reducing inequality and making it as easy as possible for young people to continue in education and learning post 16. I urge anybody who thinks they might be eligible to look out for the scheme opening in August and get their application in."
It will be open to all students who live in the Westmorland and Furness area and who are experiencing difficulty in paying for transport for educational purposes.
The bursary will work on a sliding scale, dependent on how far away the student lives from their place of education.
Application packs will be available via the Westmorland and Furness Council website once the application process opens on 24 August.
Eden District Council ran a pilot travel bursary scheme last year, with two projects which will continue to receive funding this year:
Alston Moor Federation will continue to provide affordable, subsidised bus transport for students to attend sixth form at New College, Durham in 2023-24. This is done via a transport service from Alston, collecting young people from Nenthead and along Weardale each day.
Myerscough College will receive support for a non-means tested subsidy for students accessing the land-based provision delivered by the college at Ullswater Community College in Penrith.