Transforming Lives

A charity which helps disabled children and young people from across Cheshire has been “totally transformed” thanks to the donation of a Smiley Bus from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme works with young people with a range of conditions, including physical, learning, emotional, social and behavioural disabilities.

For the last five years, they have been able to provide additional activities thanks to the donation of the Smiley Bus, which has now been officially handed by Lindsey De Bartolo, Enable Funding Officer with the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“The Smiley Bus has made a huge difference to how the Buddies operates, and we are now more accessible and more mobile,” says Service Delivery Manager Stephanie Lawley.

“We run a number of clubs where we go to a special school at the end of the day (Springfield and Oaklands in Winsford) to collect disabled children and young people to take them out and about.

“We are less reliant on the goodwill of other organisations which also means we can can work with different groups during the days, in the evenings or at weekends.

“For example, on a Friday we run a Young Explorers group, supporting 10 disabled young adults, then go to Springfield and collect eight children for the Playworld after school club. 

“On Sundays, once a month we use it to take people for 1-2-1 swimming and then the sibling young carers go trampolining.

“When we run a sibling young carers group, eight of the 12 young carers are picked up who, without the bus would not leave Crewe and would have limited life experiences. 

“The bus has made a huge difference to what we can do and what we can offer. 

“Transport is no longer a barrier and we can support more disabled young people and carers.

“It has totally transformed the work we do, and we just want to say thank you so much to the Steve Morgan Foundation.”

Having access to their own transport has made a huge difference to so many of those who benefit from the Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme. 

One young man with complex learning disabilities and anxieties who would previously not want to attend any activities was able to be picked up from school with his friends and is now a happy and regular attendee at the Playworld sessions.

Also, the Northwich carers group ‘Piece by Piece’ have been able to access the Smiley Bus to put on activities for a group of parent carers in Rudheath who have been able to enjoy trips to Tatton Park, the ice cream farm at Tattenhall, Manchester Christmas markets, Chill Factore and going crab fishing at New Brighton.

“Eighty per cent of the disabled children, young people and carers that CCBS support would not leave Cheshire from one year to the next without activities provided by the Buddies, which is a shocking statistic,” adds Stephanie.

“Thanks to the Smiley Bus, CCBS will continue to provide new opportunities for disabled children and their families in Cheshire.”

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