Special needs school in Cumbria gifted with new coach

Donna Stretton and Miles Baron
Donna Stretton and Miles Baron
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Sandside Lodge School has been presented with a brand new minibus by the Bingo Association chief executive Miles Baron and Majestic Bingo Limited’s Head of Marketing Kirstie Gee.

The Bingo Association funded the specially adapted minibus for the special needs school, which caters for 2 to 19 year olds with ASD, severe learning difficulties and a range of other conditions.

Officially known as a Variety Sunshine Coach, it will replace the school’s 13 year old minibus which had become increasingly unreliable and too expensive to maintain.

Sheila Mitton, a teacher at the school, said: “I am really excited about the new mini bus provided by The Bingo Association and Variety. It will mean that all our pupils can access the beautiful place we live in and travel further afield.

“The tail lift makes it ideal for our wheel chair users and also when transporting specialist trikes. It will be used for curriculum activities, as our youngsters learn best doing real life activities rather than those that are classroom based. It will also be used for residentials, clubs both after school and during the holidays.

“It will replace a minibus that is now past its best, although we will keep them both running throughout the summer so we can access sporting and social events.”

The Sunshine Coach is the 13th donated by the Bingo Association in the last three years, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the bingo industry, their staff and customers. The Bingo Association has now raised more than £1million for Variety.

Miles Baron, Chief Executive of the Bingo Association said: “More than 350 bingo clubs across the UK made this very worthy donation of a Sunshine Coach possible and so I must thank the staff and bingo players for their support. As an industry we are delighted to be able to help more children get the most out of their childhood and reach their unique potential.”

Apollo Barrow in Furness is one of 16 clubs owned by Majestic Bingo Limited and its fundraising efforts made it possible for Sandside Lodge School to have a much needed new minibus.

Variety has been helping improve the lives of young people who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged since 1949.

Colleen Ettridge, Head of Fundraising at Variety, the Children’s Charity said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Bingo Association, its members and customers. Variety Sunshine Coaches enable children and young people with special needs to get the most out of school life by accessing learning and recreational facilities outside of the school environment.”

For more information on Variety, the Children’s Charity, please contact: [email protected]

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