Open Country's New Minibus

Brackenfield School raises £1,500 for Open Country’s new minibus “Star of Hope”.

Open Country took their new minibus to Brackenfield School this week to thank them for their generous fundraising which raised just over £1,500 towards the new vehicle named Star of Hope.

The new minibus is essential to the charity’s work. Based in Harrogate, Open Country is a local charity that seeks to enable anyone with any disability to access the countryside. They achieve this through a variety of countryside activities and the provision of information, training and advice. Accessible transport is provided by Open Country and teams of trained volunteers to offer assistance as necessary.

David Shaftoe from Open Country thanked the pupils and staff in a special assembly to show the school the new bus. He spoke about the worthwhile work the charity carries out in supporting disabled people to enjoy the countryside and told the children about their coast to coast challenge in Scotland earlier in the year where they covered 80 miles in two days on tandems taking in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The children were shown how the new bus accommodates wheel chair users and were fascinated to see the mechanical lift in operation.

Year 1 and Nursery pupils enjoyed riding on the special lift and pressing the buttons to make it work. One of the Year 6 pupils observed that ‘This is cool engineering.’

Headteacher, Pat Sowa was delighted that the children were able to see the new minibus first hand “Open Country has been our Charity if the Year for 2015/16 and the children fund-raised in a range of imaginative ways throughout the year. Being Olympic year, of particular note was our Paralympic Day where the children challenged themselves to compete in Paralympic events with a range of physical challenges to overcome. This helped the children to understand how disability should never be a hindrance to enjoying sport or indeed to achieving your goals in life.”

Anthony Comerford, Principal, was also very pleased that Brackenfield has been able to make such a significant contribution to the new minibus. “Open Country is such a worthwhile charity to support and to raise £1,500 is a fabulous achievement for the children and of course wonderful for the charity. We are so pleased that the new minibus this will make such a difference to so many people in the Harrogate area.”