Since 2008 The Victoria Foundation has provided Richmond & Kingston Accessible Transport (RaKAT) with funding to purchase eight accessible minibuses. One fully accessible and customised minibus costs over £64,000 and can accommodate 15 seated passengers or 6 wheelchairs with occupants with seats removed.
In 2022 The Victoria Foundation awarded a grant of £17,707.50 to match funds from Clarendon School, a Special Academy in the London Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames, to make it possible for the school to order a much needed 17 seat lightweight accessible minubus. Clarendon have placed the order expect delivery of the new minibus in August 2022.
'On behalf of the whole Clarendon School community, I'd like to say an enormous "thank you" to The Victoria Foundation and its supporters for their generous grant towards our new school minibus. As we start to emerge from the pandemic, and venture back out into the wider community, our new bus will allow our pupils (all of whom have learning difficulties and additional complex needs) to access the full range of curriculum-supporting trips, school journeys, enrichment and extracurricular activities.
Your support will directly improve the day-to-day experiences of our vulnerable young people and enable us to provide the rich and varied opportunities beyond the school environment which are such a valuable part of what we do.' John Kipps, Headteacher Clarendon School
The pupils at Clarendon all have learning difficulties, and many have additional complex needs. About half have a diagnosis of Autism (ASD) and about 25% have significant medical needs, sensory issues, or physical disabilities. More than 40% of the pupils are eligible for the Pupils Premium Grant, and 58% of pupils are of ethnicities other than white British, indicating that the school community is significantly more diverse, and from more deprived backgrounds, than other local schools. Clarendon's minibus is old and no longer fit for purpose - it cannot be used within the ULEZ which which limits it usefulness further, and has started to cost significant sums in terms of servicing. The current minibus, more than 15 years old, is not wheelchair accessible which means it cannot be used by several of the pupils, and as a 15 seater cannot accommodate most of the class groups with staff.
The 17 seat lightweight accessible minibus will meet the needs of the pupils and class groups and help to provide the rich and varied cultural, sporting and artistic experiences which the pupils of Clarendon both love and deserve. Clarendon’s goal is to ensure that pupils leave the school as independent as they are able to be and to this end place huge value on ensuring visibility and participation in the wider community - the new accessible minibus will help the school to reach its goal.
In 2021 The Victoria Foundation was delighted to award a grant of £22,000 to TAG Youth Club for Disabled Young People towards its new accessible minibus which has just been delivered. TAG can't wait to use the minibus for its activities which offer such wonderful support to youngsters who have been so greatly affected by COVID-19 restrictions in so many ways. A huge thank you goes to all our supporters for making this grant possible.
Thank yous from TAG and parents of TAG youngsters
Giles Hobart, Chief Executive of TAG
'This fully accessible minibus will enrich the lives of our young people, enabling them to access the local community, trips and short breaks away from home. These experiences are invaluable for gaining life skills, forging friendships, as well as boosting wellbeing and social communication through fun activities and experiences. This fully accessible minibus will enrich the lives of our young people, enabling them to access the local community, trips and short breaks away from home. These experiences are invaluable for gaining life skills, forging friendships, as well as boosting wellbeing and social communication through fun activities and experiences.'
‘For our daughter, and other young disabled people, the mini-bus is so much more than a means of transport. It represents independence. Allowing her to enjoy trips with her friends, without mum and dad looking over her shoulder. It’s an important part of growing up and we’d like to thank the generosity of funders for enabling that.’
'Having accessible transport means vulnerable and isolated young people with disabilities will be able to access their community without relying on family members. Outings and extended trips will help rebuild those crucial connections and bonds after months in lockdown.'
The accessible minibuses are used by many organisations enabling over 100,000 passenger journeys. The vehicles are helping to transform many lives through providing accessible transport vehicles, which enable disabled children, young people and the elderly to attend day care centres, go on shopping trips, and take part in educational or social outings.They help to prevent loneliness and isolation and help keep our community connected.
Thank you - Nigel Newby. CEO, Richmond and Kingston Accessible Transport
“As always, thank you so much on behalf of all the thousands of people you help. It’s very difficult for us to raise funds for accessible buses and the ongoing contribution made by the Victoria Foundation is priceless. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to maintain the services we do at the moment.”
If you can make a donation to help fund accessible transport vehicles or transport costs please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
T: 020 8332 1788 Email
Donate by bank transfer to HSBC TVF Account: 01 56 33 27 TVF Sort Code: 40 26 12