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The Bingo Association donates their 34th Variety Sunshine Coach to Rowan Tree Primary school, Atherton

A Variety Sunshine Coach was presented by Alan Clinton, Assistant Manager from BJ’s Bingo in Leigh on behalf of The Bingo Association to pupils and staff of Rowan Tree Primary school in Atherton.

This Sunshine Coach is the 34th donated by The Bingo Association in the past five years and in attendance were BJ’s Bingo Operations Manager, Lee Rich, and Deputy Manager Jenny Brocklehurst.

Rowan Tree Primary school is a community special school for pupils aged 4 – 11 years and currently there are 116 pupils on roll. All pupils have an Educational Health Care Plan and require highly specialist teaching due to their severe and complex needs. The school provides a broad, balanced and highly personalised curriculum, tailored to meet the very specific needs of our pupils. As well as teaching the National Curriculum there is a very strong focus upon the development of play, communication, social skills, life skills and emotional wellbeing.

The new Sunshine Coach is needed so that the school can continue offering plenty of learning opportunities to their students and encourage a better life, thus developing their confidence and social skills. It would be used every day to take pupils on educational trips, sports activities, swimming lessons, golf, bowling, walks, local parks, shopping, educational tours, residential visits, and local clubs.

From left to right: Alan Clinton – Assistant Manager BJ’s Bingo, Liz Loftus – Head teacher Rowan Tree Primary school Atherton, Jenny Brocklehurst – Deputy Manager BJ’s Bingo, Lee Rich – Operations Manager BJ’s Bingo

Variety’s Sunshine Coaches have helped improve the lives of thousands of disabled or disadvantaged children across the UK. The coaches enable schools to take children on education and recreational days out allowing children to explore places they would otherwise never have visited.

Liz Loftus Head Teacher at Rowan Tree school said: “Due to the pandemic we have not been able to deliver activities and lessons off-site and children have been unable to apply skills learned in school to new more challenging community contexts. Having a new minibus to enable us to re-introduce a large part of our curriculum is fantastic. We have all missed it so much.”

The focus at Rowan Tree is on pupils and family’s well-being and having a minibus opens new possibilities not just for pupils but also for their families. The new larger minibus means more pupils can be involved in the community more regularly, including those pupils who travel in wheelchairs, as the minibus comes with a tail lift.

Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association said, “I would like to thank BJ’s Bingo who are representing the bingo industry today, for the incredible support and generosity of their customers and staff.  Customers from bingo clubs across Great Britain have made this very worthy donation of a Sunshine Coach possible.

“We have now raised £1.6 million for Variety in the past five years – a truly incredible amount – and it is brilliant to see that this has such a fantastic, direct impact on improving the lives of thousands of sick and disadvantaged children around the UK.”

Andrew Tattershall – General Manager of BJ’s in Leigh said:  “BJ’s Bingo were delighted to nominate a local school Rowan Tree Primary school in Atherton to receive a Variety Sunshine coach, we were pleased that the bus was handed over late last year and are now delighted that we can make the formal presentation in person, it is the 34thVariety coach that has been donated as a result of fundraising by The Bingo Association and its members.  Thank you to all of our staff and customers, for their support over the years in helping raise much needed funds for such a worthy charity”.