To the amazement of the children of Pens Meadow School in Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, a cavalcade of red Mini Cars arrived on 20th May to join their new red Variety Sunshine Coach. The reason – participants in the 25th staging of The Italian Job fundraising event raised enough to fund the coach for this very special school.

You don’t need to have a red Mini Car but it does make a nice picture!

The annual Italian Job event began in 1990 and is one of the most enjoyable events on the social motoring event calendar, raising over £2.5mllion pounds for children’s charities across the UK. It has now funded three Sunshine Coaches for Variety. Their motto has always been Raising money for children in a fun way and fun is what they bought to Pens Meadow Special Education Needs school. The school caters for 63 children from 3 to 19. All children have severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple disabilities including medical needs.

Students and teachers, ‘Italian Jobbers’ and their Minis are joined by Tom Phillips, Vice Chairman of Regional Committee, to celebrate the arrival of the new coach

The new ‘Italian Job’ coach will enable children to access a wide variety of opportunities such as swimming, weekly visits to a farm, other community activities, as well as curriculum visits to reinforce social skills which enable pupils to transfer these skills to community settings.

Michelle Cox-Coley. Pens Meadow Family Outreach Coordinator said:

It was lovely to meet everyone and have the opportunity to say thank you face to face to an amazing group of people whom without their generous efforts we would never have been able to have our new coach, which will have a significant impact on the experiences of our children and will enable them to access community facilities and opportunities with support. I feel we may now have to have an annual Italian day in tribute to “The Italian Job”!!

Freddie St George, Founder and Organiser of the Italian Job Fundraising event commented:

The presentation of a Variety Sunshine Coach is as significant an event for the Italian Job teams as it is for the beneficiary school. It represents a physical manifestation of the fruits of our year long labours in support of Variety. It’s a sign that our gutsy fundraising efforts and our industrious arm twisting has worked and has paid off. It is truly a heart warming feeling to know that many children, young people and their carers will benefit greatly from the use of the Sunshine Coach and that to a small degree, all their lives will be enriched by it

Head Teacher Marie Hunter with Giulia St George, founder and organiser of The Italian Jobs