Bundaberg Special School has had a very special delivery this week, after months of campaigning to raise funds for a new wheelchair-accessible school bus.
A donation from the Freemasons in the Wide Bay region and Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland proved to be the last piece of the puzzle in what has been a huge community effort, to ensure the school is able to continue transporting wheelchair-bound students to and from excursions.
Continuity Masonic Lodge Secretary, Allan Williams said the Lodge initially donated $2,000 with the help of Hand Heart Pocket, before nominating the school for a grant, for the gap of $13,000 for the bus.
“Continuity Masonic Lodge is very proud to have been part of this community effort to ensure no student misses out on the opportunity to take part in school excursions – which is just as important as what you learn in the classroom,” Allan said.
“We’re thrilled, that on top of matching our contribution, Hand Heart Pocket covered the $13,000 gap so that the School could reach its $76,000 fundraising target sooner,” he said.
The campaign was initiated by the Bundaberg NewsMail last August, after the old school bus could no longer be covered by insurance. In the interim, teachers had to transport the 17 wheelchair-bound students to and from trips by taxi. The modified new Toyota Hiace will be able to transport two wheelchair-bound students at a time.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, thanked Continuity Lodge for bringing the cause to the organisation’s attention.
“It has been our pleasure to support Bundaberg Special School with this important initiative. I congratulate Continuity Lodge for their contribution also,” he said.
“Our purpose is to provide sustainable support that delivers positive outcomes and empowering wheelchair-bound students to participate fully in the school curriculum supports that.”
“The bus is a symbol of inclusivity, and we hope that these excursions inspire and broaden students’ minds about the world around them,” he said.
Photo: Members of Continuity Masonic Lodge alongside other community groups that supported Bundaberg Special School’s campaign for a new wheelchair-accessible school bus.