Smiley Bus Boost For Llandudno School

The 72nd Smiley Bus of the Steve Morgan Foundation fleet has been officially handed over, to Ysgol Y Gogarth Special School in Llandudno.

The wheelchair-accessible 17-seater Smiley Bus will play a major part in enabling severely disabled children from the school to access offside activities, promoting their independent living skills.

Ysgol Y Gogarth is a day and residential school with over 200 pupils, all of whom have a statement of Special Educational Needs for moderate and severe learning disabilities, profound and multiple learning difficulties, or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The school also manages a residential facility, Llys Gogarth, which, as well as being a residential children’s home, offers respite and short-term placements for pupils who have been identified through Social Services needs assessment and the annual review process.

The school uses a fleet of several minibuses to transport pupils to various activities including courses in animal care, childcare, construction and catering, GCSE tutoring, shopping trips, riding for the disabled, swimming, various other excursions and health and wellbeing activities.

Two of the fleet had become unreliable and needed replacing and the new Smiley Bus will provide a far easier and more efficient means of transport for pupils to enjoy both educational and fun pursuits away from school.

The Smiley Bus also has a tail-lift to help access for wheelchair users, of whom there are 22 at Ysgol Y Gogarth.

Part of the funding for the Smiley Bus was donated by Steve Morgan after securing substantial damages and an apology following a false and defamatory claim made by the Daily Mail’s publisher, Associated Newspapers Limited.

At the time, Ysgol Y Gogarth headteacher Mr Jonathan Morgan said: “We applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation a few months ago because our current fleet of minibuses is ageing and are becoming increasingly expensive to maintain.

“The five minibuses are quite old and we needed one with a tail lift so that our pupils who are wheelchair users can be taken out into the community.

“The minibuses are extremely important to us because they allow children to gain access to the local community along with college link courses and allow us to continue inclusive projects with partner mainstream schools.

“We also have a residential provision, so this allows children who are staying with us for short breaks to take part in weekend and evening activities both locally and further afield.

“We are all very grateful and happy to receive the bus which is going to make a huge difference to us.”

*Lindsey De Bartolo. Enable Funding Officer with the Steve Morgan Foundation, is pictured with staff and pupils from Ysgol Y Gogarth at the official handover, including Jess, with one of the Steve Morgan Foundation’s teddy bears.

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