Smiley Bus Is ‘Activated’

The Steve Morgan Foundation has provided a brand new ‘Smiley Bus’ to solve an urgent need for transport for students at a special needs school in Kirkby.

Activate Community & Education Services is a further education college for young adults aged between 16 and 25 with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Activate has previously had to rely on parents or taxis to transport students to enjoy activities in the local community, but the donation of the 17-seater wheelchair-accessible minibus is going to make a hugely positive difference to the college’s programme.

The Smiley Bus was officially handed over by the Steve Morgan Foundation to Activate last week, at their main campus, the Bracknell Centre in Kirkby.

“As a small, local charity it would have taken us years to raise the funds to purchase a minibus by ourselves, so are we very grateful to the Steve Morgan Foundation,” said Helen Mault, Director of Education with Activate.

“This will be our first ever minibus, and we are thrilled that it will give our students opportunities to access new and exciting experiences outside of the college grounds.

“This will enable them to become more involved in their local community and work towards our vision of ‘an inclusive society for all’.

“Students from our Birkenhead campus will now be able to travel easily to our main Bracknell campus to access the facilities, including our on-site animal care centre.

“We will also be able to easily transport our learners to and from their essential hydrotherapy sessions, and we are already busy planning many more exciting experiences that will help our learners achieve their full potential.

“We just want to say a huge thank you to the Steve Morgan Foundation!”

The aim of Activate is to deliver vocational educational programmes for young adults with learning disabilities from across Knowsley and Wirral, with each student following a bespoke curriculum which is tailored to their individual needs.

The new Smiley Bus, the 61st to be awarded by the Steve Morgan Foundation, follows previous support from the Foundation which awarded a £50,000 grant for team leader posts over a three-year period.

“Activate is a special needs college which is doing a fantastic job in offering all its students so many different experiences and helping to prepare them for independent living,” says Jane Harris, the Steve Morgan Foundation’s Administrator, who was present at the official handover.

“The Steve Morgan Foundation is delighted to put together the majority of the funds required for one of new Smiley Buses, helped also by some fundraising from the students themselves.

“We hope the students and staff enjoy travelling to and from their activities on their brand new minibus and are able to make the most of the new and exciting opportunities it will bring.”

The fleet of Smiley Buses awarded by the Foundation across its remit area serve a wide range of different organisations, from community transport in isolated North Wales, to busy activity groups and special needs schools.

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