collaboration COLLABORATION | THE REDWAY SCHOOL MINIBUS Minibus was handed over by the Mayor of Milton Keynes and representatives of the six suppliers involved miniplus.co.uk | June 2017 | 39 The minibus industry gives something back The accessible minibus industry thrives on goodwill. Nowhere has that been more evident recently than in a project bringing together some of the business’ most notable suppliers to provide a school with a vehicle that is almost as good as new and at no charge. It came about through an idea originally floated by Adam Beck, MD of lift manufacturer PLS, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017; it has also produced its 25,000th lift, and Adam was keen to donate the milestone product to a worthy cause. He raised the idea with London Hire Account Manager John Shier, who set to work involving other suppliers. The result is a Ford Transit minibus that has shed its eight-year working life and is back to as-new condition with The Redway School, a special education needs establishment in Milton Keynes. Time to shine “After Adam mentioned his plan I thought that if we brought in other suppliers, we could do even more,” says John. “I contacted several, and besides PLS and ourselves, Camira Fabrics, Cogent Seating, Koller Engineering and NMI Safety Systems all came on board and donated equipment to help with the transformation.” Camira provided fabric for the Cogent Hawk seats, and to ensure continuity for the children who will use the minibus it is to London Hire’s corporate pattern. Supplied new by The Lord’s Taverners in 2009, it will continue to be used on the same duties it was before its revamp. “Part of what we teach the children is how to act outside school and for that we use our minibuses to take them to cafes, garden centres and supermarkets. We also go to Devon on a yearly respite trip,” says Headteacher Ruth Sylvester, who leads a school of 146 children and 200 staff. “The minibuses are of great value to the children’s lives and it is a rare occasion that all of ours are here at the same time.” That demonstrates the social value of the project involving the six suppliers, and the difference that it has already made to the lives of the children at The Redway School. A discussion about a lift manufacturer marking a milestone quickly snowballed into something else, and it ended with six leading suppliers refurbishing a school minibus free of charge Tim Deakin Editor The result is a Transit minibus that has shed its eightyear working life and is back to asnew condition Cogent also produced two wheel arch seat legs, while the other legs and their quick-release connectors came from NMI. Koller provided four sets of wheelchair tie-down equipment, and it will also visit the school to deliver training to staff in their safe operation. London Hire contributed by performing all of the mechanical and body work that was required, and it also repainted the Transit. Additionally, a member of its own fleet was hired to the school free of charge for the three weeks that the Transit was absent. A Mayoral unveiling The revamped minibus was handed over to the school on 17 May by representatives of all parties involved in its transformation and the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Steve Coventry.
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