Kid unit bus under threat

SPELLING IT OUT: Campaigners and children appeal for support for their mini-bus at the Baird Memorial early years assessment unit.
SPELLING IT OUT: Campaigners and children appeal for support for their mini-bus at the Baird Memorial early years assessment unit.

A DESPERATE appeal for support has been made by a Cumbernauld special needs nursery as they bid to avoid losing one of their most valued resources.

Staff at the Baird Memorial early years assessment unit in Condorrat say they will be dealt a major blow if their minibus has to be taken off the road because they can’t afford servicing and MOT costs.

Principal teacher Anne Sangster said: “We’re a small establishment, we’re attached to the school but we stand alone as an educational support needs nursery.

“Our children in the morning have a lot of additional support needs and, in the afternoon, the children who come are on the autistic spectrum so access outdoors to the community is very important for them.

“But because of our children’s needs we couldn’t just go on a local service bus because it would be too traumatic for them.

“That’s why having our own minibus to take them out, where they feel safe, is so vital.”

The minibus was gifted to the nursery by the Glenview Trust three years ago. It is now due its first major service and MOT.

Anne says that, far from only being used for a day trip every once in a while, hardly a day goes by when the unit’s bus isn’t in use.

She added: “We go out in the bus every single week. We take them shopping, to garden centres, other nurseries and places of interest to get them out in the community and to help them get used to interacting with the public.

“The parents can find it very difficult to take their children out, even just to the supermarket, because a lot of the trouble the children have is with social interaction. So, the more frequently we can get them out into the community, the more they’ll get used to these situations and learn how to deal with them.”

As well as learning the most appropriate way to behave in public, the youngsters can explore the world around them and regularly collect branches and leaves from parks.

They also make regular trips to recycling centres, playparks and theatres.

Anne added: “Ideally, we’re looking for someone to fund our servicing for a couple of years or even just a year. I can’t tell you how strongly we all feel about this, we desperately want to keep it going, it’s a bit of a lifeline for the children.”

If you could help fund the unit’s minibus, please contact Anne Sangster on 01236 612670.