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Team effort to restore vandalised school bus

3 weeks ago Tue 4th Feb 2020

A team of volunteers from Brighton & Hove Buses has joined parents, students, teachers and local businesses to restore a school bus and clean up after the bus was badly vandalised.

Brighton & Hove Buses’ colleagues and the school spent three years converting the bus into an outdoor learning space for St Nicolas Primary School in Portslade but it was vandalised last month.

Children coming back to school after the Christmas holidays were met with the devastating sight of their bus with every window smashed, seats slashed and its contents turned upside down.

Brighton & Hove Buses’ Fitter Nathan Enticknapp said colleagues immediately volunteered to help restore the bus when they heard the news.

They worked alongside volunteers from companies including PSV and Southern Recovery, working during their lunch breaks and at weekends; fitting new windows, making new seat covers and stabilising the bus on blocks to make it safe again. Cityclean helped clear up the site and RU Comfy donated beanbags.

Nathan said: “You can just imagine the kids’ faces when they returned to school after the Christmas holidays - it was so sad - but volunteers have really pulled together once again. There is a powerful message behind that. It’s shown the kids that people do care and that things can turn out right in the end if you work together.”

St Nicolas’ Headteacher Andy Richbell said the whole school was shocked by the vandalism.

“The children were quite distressed about it and some were quite anxious. This school is a safe place for our children and for people to come on site that they don’t know and to do that, they definitely felt unsafe.

“To be honest, when I first saw the bus, I thought: ‘we’re not going to be able to repair this. We’re going to have to be getting it towed away and disposed of’.”

It was only when offers of help started coming in that things started looking up. One kind donor on the Isle of Wight sent the school a cheque for £10.

“We had to start turning away offers for help because we didn’t want to be benefitting out of it.”

 The response has been so good that the school hopes to reopen the bus by half term, in two weeks’ time.

The school has been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by its families, the community, local businesses and complete strangers since the bus was vandalised.

“The children couldn’t stop talking about how generous people had been. It has absolutely made them feel safe again. It’s been a real team effort.”

The crowdfunder campaign set up by the school’s PTA after the vandalism has massively exceeded its target and raised £4,500 from 150 donations. Any money leftover will be used to improve CCTV and to make the bus even better.

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