A SCHOOL in Weymouth has become the proud owner of a brand new minibus, thanks to the kind support of St James’s Place Charitable Foundation and Variety.

Wyvern Academy is a specialist school for children and young people aged two to 19 with learning difficulties, autism, physical and sensory disabilities and complex healthcare needs.

Bruce Douglas, the Academy's headmaster, said: “We are extremely excited and grateful for the fantastic new coach. It will help us to prepare our students for the transition to independent living as they will be able to get out and about and learn from real experiences that can’t be taught in the classroom."

Andy Cameron from St. James’s Place Wealth Management, accompanied by colleagues and representatives of the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, handed the keys of the Variety Sunshine Coach to Mr Douglas during a special ceremony at the school on Tuesday, February 5.

Variety is the oldest international children's charity in the world, with divisions across 13 countries helping children at a local community level.

Colleen Ettridge, Head of Fundraising at Variety, said: “We are extremely grateful to St James’s Place Charitable Foundation for helping to fund Wyvern Academy’s Variety Sunshine Coach.

“These coaches, often regarded as ‘mobile classrooms’, give pupils with additional needs the opportunity to experience active learning and develop life skills outside of the school environment.”

Malcolm Cooper-Smith, a Trustee of the St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, commented “We are delighted to have helped Wyvern Academy carry on providing excellent care and education to the lovely children and young people who attend Wyvern.

"This Variety Sunshine Coach is one of many that we are helping to provide all over the UK.”

The main focus of the Foundation’s grant giving is children and young people who are disadvantaged or have special needs through illness or disability. So far, it has raised and distributed over £75 million to thousands of charities.

The Friends of Wyvern also contributed to the cost of the minibus with the support of parents, carers and local businesses at a number of fundraising and social events over a period of one year.