THE wheels have been put in motion on an appeal to raise cash for a brand new minibus at a Fylde coast school.
Pupils at Great Arley School have used the same school bus for the last fifteen years and are now desperately in need of an upgrade.
Youngsters rely on having access to a minibus to take them to Blackpool and The Fylde College for catering classes, for sporting activities and to enhance their learning with real life situations.
This week staff, pupils and governors launched their appeal with a donation of £1,000 from Cleveleys councillor Andrea Kay, lead member for children and young people.
The Thornton special school now has between £39,000 and £49,000 to raise.
Head teacher Anne Marshfield, said: “It is an old bus which is not really big enough, not very easy to drive, and not economical.
“It is road worthy but in the long term we need a more modern model, my main concern is the safety of the pupils so we have launched an appeal for a bus – ideally 17-seater – and a garage extension to house it.
“It is so important we have a bus because it gets our pupils out into the community and allows them to take part in different activities.
The bus currently used by the school was donated by children’s charity, the Variety Club Blackpool, but can only be used by Great Arley.
Staff have estimated a new bus would cost around £27,000 but require additional space to store it.
Jim Proctor, chair of governors, said: “At the moment we are restricted in that we are the only school allowed to use the bus, if we raise enough to buy our own we would be happy to lend it out.
“This is a project for the whole school, the children have designed a poster and created a wooden bus money box.
“Every month we will count the money raised during maths class and move our bus to another stop on our journey towards improved transport.”
Pupils at the school say they cannot wait for a better bus.
Chelsea Beezer, 16, said: “We need a bigger bus and the one we have is really old, we carry all our band equipment round in it, I play the drums.”
Emily Brayshaw, 15, said: “We need a bus because we go out to different colleges for catering and gardening and feel like we are a real part of the community.”
Eleven-year-old Liam Costello, said he would like the bus to be painted red, white and blue in celebration of the Olympic year.