CHILDREN with special educational needs will be able to go on adventures on their brand-new minibus.

Maes Ebbw School, in the Maesglas area of Newport, caters for children and young people (aged two to 19) with special educational needs – these youngsters will be able to learn and develop skills outside the classrooms thanks to their new coach.

The Variety Sunshine Coach – which will act as a “mobile classroom” has been funded with support from

  • Children’s charity Variety
  • St. James’ Place Charitable Foundation
  • Parents, staff and local businesses through fundraising activities such as the Maes Ebbw Marathon (when pupils completed a marathon distance over the summer term of 2021).

Richard Hill, of St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, handed the keys of the Variety Sunshine Coach to the school’s headteacher, Nicola Allan, at a special presentation earlier this month.

Ms Allan said: “The new minibus will allow the pupils so many opportunities to take part in activities in the community.

“Having a specialist minibus for the pupils to travel in safety and comfort allows us to take learning beyond the school.

“We are really looking forward to taking part in activities organised by Newport Live and for pupils to regularly visit Able Radio to take part in and produce radios shows.”

Mr Hill was joined at the coach presentation by Chris Allen, a colleague from St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation, and Edward Watts, chairman of GAVO.


Mr Hill said: “We are delighted to present this vehicle for a much-needed purpose for the pupils of Maes Ebbw School.”

Variety – a UK charity aiming to improving the lives of disabled youngsters or those living in poverty – was represented by head of programmes Keeley Williams.

South Wales Argus: Newport City Councillor Deb Davies, Maes Ebbw School headteacher Nicola Allan, Richard Hill of St James’s Place Charitable Foundation and Edward Watts MBE DL (Deputy Lieutenant of Gwent and Chairman of GAVO)

Ms Williams said: “We are extremely grateful to St. James’s Place Charitable Foundation for helping to fund this Sunshine Coach for the Maes Ebbw School.

“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.”