Inclusion was the watchword when Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) gave money to Sgoil an Rubha and Sandwick Learning Centre to help buy specialised cycling equipment for children with additional support needs.
The Trust donated £500 in total, with £250 going to Sgoil an Rubha to help pupil Connor Macleod, who received the gift of independent cycling from his classmates. They had organised a sponsored cycle to buy him a specialised bike.
PST made sure the fundraising got off to a flying start with their donation.
Now Connor, from Upper Bayble, has his own perfect set of wheels.
PST have a history of supporting Sgoil an Rubha, donating two full sets of school strips late last year and also money for Lego play therapy sets.
This latest donation, towards the cost of the bike at more than £900, is a further boost for inclusion in Point.
Connor, who is in principal teacher Anne Macphail’s P3/4/5 composite class, will be able to keep the bike in school or take it home as it is highly portable.
Teacher Anne explained the idea for the sponsored cycle had come from the children themselves.
“The whole class wanted to do something for Connor that shows he’s included. It wasn’t about the money. It was about giving him the same rights that they have. The kids absolutely adore Connor. They were very enthusiastic about doing something for their classmate.”
Anne did not want the children to feel under pressure to raise a lot of money themselves, though – so she went to Point and Sandwick Trust for some help.
She said it was “a real feel-good story”, where “the kids all came together and the community helped us”.
In the end, the children raised £608 themselves but PST were more than happy to help and PST representatives Angus McCormack and Donald John MacSween came along on the day to cheer on the children.
Angus McCormack said it was a “wonderful” moment, he added: “It really was a great experience to see how committed the young lad’s classmates were to helping him to get the bike that he needed and it was very impressive to see that all the other children in the school were cheering them on.”
For safety reasons, the Sgoil an Rubha cycle took place at the school itself on Thursday, 29 March, with Active Schools coordinator Eric ‘Strada’ Macleod taking care of the practicalities.
Around 24 children took part altogether and they managed a collective total of 25 miles.
Appropriately, the event took place just before National Autism Awareness Month and a week after World Down’s Syndrome Day, although the timing was coincidental.
And in a nice show of support, the whole school wore odd socks – traditionally worn to raise awareness on World Down’s Syndrome Day – on the day of the sponsored cycle.
Meanwhile, Point and Sandwick Trust also donated £250 to the Sandwick Learning Centre, which enabled its staff to buy a second disability trike for their youngsters.
PST general manager Donald John MacSeen said: “PST are delighted to continue working with Sgoil an Rudha and the Sandwick facility, and have pleasure in topping up their recent sponsorship efforts to purchase two bikes for use by pupils.
“The teachers in both schools continue to provide a great service for the pupils, in these austere times, and PST will continue to provide support for the two schools in our area.”
The trike for Sandwick was the result of a request from another Anne Macphail – the learning support teacher for Sgoil an Rubha who also works in Sandwick on a Friday.
The children at Sandwick already had one disability trike and loved it – but were having to wait a while to take turns.
Anne said: “A lot of these children couldn’t access regular bikes and trikes. This disability trike enables them to enjoy the freedom of a bike.
“There’s such a smile on their faces because it’s something they can do independently.”
Unlike Connor’s set of wheels, which is a specialised bicycle, this is a large disability trike, which cost £249.99 from Amazon – leaving a penny change from PST’s donation.