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ENABLE Scotland has scooped the prestigious Campaigner of the Year title at the 2015 Herald Society Awards for its #stopthebus campaign.

The campaign had been developed by the charity after their members identified that people who have learning disabilities were losing their bus pass and becoming increasingly isolated due to gaps in the National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

The rules around getting a bus pass for these people changed in 2006, and as people who have learning disabilities have been applying to renew their bus pass, they have found that they have difficulties getting one.

Thanks to the ENABLE Scotland campaign, this problem has been resolved, meaning thousands more people who have learning disabilities can get back on the bus and travel independently.

The judges were impressed by the fact that #stopthebus was a grass roots campaign that highlighted clear issues with people not being given access to free travel by bus.

They also commended the charity for achieving a change in the application process that benefitted everyone in Scotland who had a learning disability and not just its members.

The campaign had been launched in May this year, and quickly gathered thousands of signatures from across Scotland, with many people asking their MSPs to raise their concerns in Parliament.

ENABLE Scotland members also parked their #stopthebus campaign bus at Scottish Parliament to speak to MSPs and the campaign garnered cross-party support as a result.

The charity and members then met the Minister for Transport and the Islands, Derek Mackay MSP in July to discuss the difficulties people who have learning disabilities face getting a bus pass, particularly when they do not have a formal social work support package.

That is set to change now, with the Minister asking ENABLE Scotland to work with Transport Scotland to review and improve the application process by the end of 2015removing barriers for people with learning disabilities to access their bus pass.

Collecting the award, Jan Savage, the charity’s director of campaigns and external affairs added: “This is a real victory for people who have learning disabilities, who have spoken up and campaigned on an issue that matters.  #Stopthebus was their campaign. A bus pass for many is a key part of living independently.


"Our members and supporters have made a real change that will make a huge difference to the lives of people who have learning disabilities across Scotland. This award is recognition of their brilliant efforts.  We are so proud and privileged to work with our members and campaign for real change – it can be done!”

Jacqueline Bonar said: “Since I lost my bus pass I have not been able to travel anywhere new alone. I have difficulty with numbers and money so I would panic if there were any disruptions on the journey and I had to change buses. When I had my bus pass I knew I could go on any bus but without it I would panic about how much it would cost and if I would have enough money.
“Thanks to the #stopthebus campaign, I can now look forward to being able to apply for a bus pass again and being able to get back out there, doing what I want to do, without relying on my mum to take me everywhere.

“Winning Campaigners of The Year with my friends at ENABLE Scotland, and getting my bus pass back – I couldn’t have asked for more!”


CAPTION (l-r) Judge Andrew Horne with winners Lisa Kerr, Kayleigh Thorpe, Hollie MacTavish, Ivan Cohen, Jan Savage, Jacqueline Bonar, Peter McMahon and presenter Cathy Macdonald.

Photograph courtesy of The Herald


ENABLE Scotland

  • ENABLE Scotland is the country’s leading charity for children and adults who have learning disabilities.
  • We are a member-led organisation. Local ENABLE branches are made up of volunteers, mostly people with learning disabilities and their families and carers
  • Learning disability affects around 1 in 50 people. The most well known form is Down’s syndrome, although there are many others. There is no cure for learning disability.
  • ENABLE Scotland was formed in 1954 by a group of families whose lives were affected by learning disability.
  • We campaign for people who have learning disabilities to live full and independent lives.
  • We provide services to allow people to live work and take part in their communities.

For more information please contact:
Willie Cairns, Communications Co-ordinator
T: 01698 737065

ENABLE Scotland,INSPIRE House,3 Renshaw Place,Eurocentral,N Lanarkshire,ML1 4UF.Tel: 01698 737 000. Registered Charity Number SC009024

ENABLE Scotland is a partner in the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability SCLD Site Admin