A local school for children with intellectual disabilities urgently requires community help to replace its accessible school bus.
“Our Fisher Road students are in desperate need of a new school bus,” laments Fisher Road School Principal Arianne McCombie. “All of our students from 4 -18 years old rely on our school bus to access the community.
“Junior students practice social and play skills at local playgrounds. One of our classes integrates with Cromer Primary school one day a week. Lots of Fisher Road classes love their weekly visit to Manly Warringah gymnastics. Senior students rely on transport to work experience placements. All of our students need lots of practice to develop living skills and become as independent as possible.”
School buses are not funded by the government.
Manly Observer popped down for a visit recently to meet the students and better understand what help was needed.
“Once our bus breaks down, we will only be able to run half the community access programs.”
The need to replace this bus is urgent. “Once our bus breaks down, we will only be able to run half the community access programs. “Community support will directly impact the lives of our students and are pivotal in enhancing our students’ independence, confidence and quality of life.”
Because the school caters to students with a diverse range of abilities, including children using wheelchairs, School Administration Officer Donna Glanville explained the school needs $100,000 for a bus that meets their needs.
The school needs two buses to be able to take students together on their vital regular excursions which help them connect with their community.
“One of the buses is very old. It just doesn’t work properly,” Donna told us.
“We have 55 students at our school and all of them have very high needs, whether it’s a physical disability, cerebral palsy, autism… there are different classes of course, some have students who are tube fed and in a wheelchair whereas another class may be mostly students with autism.”
In addition to their classroom work, the students participate in work programs accessible only by bus.
“The school bus will take them to One Meal (to make up food packs) and then say another group might go and do shopping for a cooking class. We also do an integration class at Cromer public , so the bus will take them to Cromer Public School for the day where they integrate with the students. So it’s a pretty integral part of school life.”
How can we help?
The school has just set up a donation link for anyone willing to throw money into the kitty, you can find it here: https://gofund.me/541efa40
Another way to support the cause is to attend their special fundraising 18+ event, “Comedy for a Cause” on Saturday 11 November from 6.30pm at Manly Leagues Club. You can find those details in the link here: https://comedyforacause.net/tc-events/frs/
If you can’t attend the event you can still bid in the online auction: https://app.galabid.com/fisherroad/items
This article first appeared on 14 October, and was republished to include the auction link on 6 November 2023.