Bus gives summer fun to special needs children

This story was published 26 July 2017

Children and young people with special needs from Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales will be out and about this summer.

Children, young people and staff with their new Variety bus at the Nidderdale Children’s Resource Centre

They'll be sailing, caving, swimming, cycling and visiting the region’s parks and beauty spots, thanks to a new bus funded by Variety, the children’s charity, and North Yorkshire County Council

Nidderdale children’s resource centre, like others across the county, traditionally offers short breaks to children and young people with special needs. More recently, the County Council has extended the work of its children’s resource centres to offer holiday club as well - a range of activities and social opportunities during the school holidays.

In the past, Nidderdale staff have been limited to taking out small groups of three or four children at a time due to the fact they only had a much smaller minivan.

But thanks to funding from the County Council and St James’s Place Foundation, through the children’s charity Variety, the Nidderdale centre, which is based in Killinghall, now has a 13-seater bus which can accommodate up to three people in wheelchairs.

This means that more children with a wide range of mobility needs can now enjoy more regular trips together. Last week, a group was taken down to the World Para Athletic Games in London and over the summer a range of trips are planned, including sailing, adapted cycling, indoor caving, a visit to Newby Hall and many other activities.

“We’ve always pushed the boundaries for our children here,” said Steve Olden, Nidderdale’s deputy manager. “We believe they should have access to experiences which offer challenge, enjoyment and which extend their learning in a whole range of ways. Having suitable transport is fundamental to what we are trying to do.

“We are very grateful to Variety and St James’s Place Foundation for their help and generosity alongside County Council funding, so that we can provide these invaluable opportunities in the long-term.”

Up to 25 children and young people attend Nidderdale children’s resource centre for short breaks. Holiday club means that more children and young people can access the service and that they can continue activities during school breaks which are highly valued by families.

“The bus is a great resource for the centre,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.

“We want all our children in North Yorkshire to have opportunities which will help them lead healthy, happy and achieving lives and the bus means staff at Nidderdale will be able to extend the range of activities and experiences available to the children for both learning and enjoyment during essential breaks and the holiday club.”

Picture shows: Children, young people and staff with their new Variety bus at the Nidderdale Children’s Resource Centre