Published: 31 January 2022
The Victoria Foundation is delighted to have 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.
TVF's grant was possible due to the support from so many including funds the charity received from the main auction at TVF's Winter Ball 2021, Petersham Open Gardens 2021, TVF's Special Wheels Appreal, The Richmond Charities Grant 2021, and TVF London Community Foundation Fund 2021-2022.
'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.