CHILDREN at Newport's newest special school are benefiting from play equipment that is making a big difference to their lives.

A swing, and other equipment with an interactive focus on colours, sounds and movement, have been installed at Ysgol Bryn Derw, thanks to a £9,000 grant from the Lord's Taverners, the UK's leading youth cricket and disability sports charity.

The school, which opened in September last year in buildings formerly occupied by Gaer infants school, has 55 children with complex autism.

"The Lord's Taverner's grant has made a huge difference to our pupils," said headteacher Richard Drew, who added that the play equipment has led to significantly increased engagement levels and interaction at playtimes.

"The pupils are getting a great deal of sensory exploration and feedback opportunities, and the equipment is meeting their movement needs as well as providing a focal point for interaction with their peers," he said.

Wales and Dragons lock forward Cory Hill officially opened the school's playground, and said the school and the new equipment is "fantastic".

"To watch the staff here dealing with problems that I wouldn't know how to describe, never mind cure or help with, is moving in the extreme," he said.

Jane John, who chairs the Lady Taverners in the Wales region, thanked people for backing the charity, thus enabling it to support projects such as this.

"Seeing the children enjoying the fruits of our fundraising activities is extremely rewarding," she said.