Autistic boy, 16, left devastated as council deny transport to bereavement sessions

Lisa and Michael Burridge
Lisa and Michael Burridge

Michael Burridge has been left devastated after Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) have refused his request for transport to his child bereavement sessions.

His father tragically died after a routine angiogram went wrong last year, and it has been a long journey to come to terms with the loss.

Michael, 16, like his mother Lisa has autism, and she is unable to drive him to and from the sessions.

However his request for transport, as provided by BCC for travel from his home to Saunderton, where the Child Bereavement Trust is based, was refused.

BCC blamed this on statutory legislation.

Lisa said: “Michael has had several individual counselling sessions with the Child Bereavement Trust, and has now reached the point of feeling ready to go to the group sessions for young people.

I’m disabled (PTSD from the night my partner died, fibromyalgia and autistic) and can’t physically do the journey to and from school, nor can I afford it.

“This support is essential for Michael. He’s struggled with depression for most of his life, and there simply isn’t anything like this that’s closer to his school.

“He’s built up a good trusting relationship with the Child Bereavement Trust, and it’s imperative that he can access the sessions. It’s just devastating that he can’t make these sessions without the council’s help.”

A Buckinghamshire County Council spokesman said: “Regrettably this application does not fall within the criteria for assistance.

“We are restricted by statutory legislation when it comes to home to school transport and as such we are only able to provide transport from home to school and back at the beginning and end of the normal school day.

“The statutory policy clearly states that funding is only available for travel from home to school and home again. An application for exceptional circumstances was considered by our Home to School Transport Exceptions Panel on this occasion but was not agreed as it was not for a direct school transport arrangement.”