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Delight at uptake of bus passes among Wick first-year pupils

By Alan Hendry

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At the time the scheme was launched, it was estimated that 930,000 young people across Scotland would benefit.
At the time the scheme was launched, it was estimated that 930,000 young people across Scotland would benefit.

Community councillor Allan Bruce has welcomed the uptake of free bus passes among first-year pupils at Wick High School.

He has been working with the school to promote a Scottish Government scheme introduced in January last year. It means that those aged between five and 21 are eligible to apply for a new or replacement National Entitlement Cards (NEC) or Young Scot NEC.

Last month Mr Bruce told fellow members of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council that the scheme “opens up so many avenues” for young people and said he was passionate about spreading the word.

Since then, Mr Bruce, who is vice-chairman of the community council, and Joanna Coghill, the treasurer, have given a presentation to pupils and the travel passes were among the topics they covered.

“We had a 40-minute audience with the first-year pupils – hundreds of them," Mr Bruce said at the November meeting of the community council this week.

“I thought that they all listened very well and we did get some questions. What I was really delighted to see, and it follows up on the article that was in the paper previously... Everybody knows this is one I've been pushing, on the free bus passes, and near enough everybody put their hand up."

He pointed out that the school had arranged a bulk acquisition of passes for the first year.

“One guy has used his 20 times already," Mr Bruce added approvingly.

Mrs Coghill said: "It was good to see so many hands going up."

Details of the scheme can be found on the Transport Scotland website.

During the presentation, pupils were told about the work of the community council and its subgroups.

They were reminded that they are part of the community and that respecting the town is important. Mr Bruce and Mrs Coghill pointed out that volunteering in the community brings a sense of pride while also creating opportunities to learn new skills, build confidence and meet new people from all backgrounds and of all ages.

As well as encouraging pupils to make use of the Young Scot card, Mr Bruce and Mrs Coghill advised them to enrol with High Life Highland.

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