Travis Perkins is the UK’s largest builder’s merchant, and the Properties Department in particular has been a Variety supporter since 2018. Most funds raised have gone towards grants for specialist equipment and wheelchairs, but in 2023, they decided to fundraise for their first Sunshine Coach.

We are delighted that the new Sunshine Coach has gone to Northgate School in Northampton. Northgate School and Arts College caters to students with special educational needs, including Autism, ADHD, and Down’s Syndrome. The flexible curriculum helps pupils prepare for adulthood by catering to a wide range of needs. The school particularly focuses on Preparation for Adulthood and the new Sunshine Coach will be used regularly to take pupils to and from work experience and on educational trips.

The popular Bee Hive in Kingsthorpe is also run by the school and gives students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a variety of vocations. With a charity shop, a café, and a garden shop, Northgate pupils gain experience of working with the public, helping them move into adult life in post-school years.

The Bee Hive also contains a hydrotherapy pool and a Sixth Form. The new Sunshine Coach is used daily to get students to hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and to Sixth Form. Sheralee Webb, Executive Head Teacher of Northgate School Academy Trust, said:

Without the support of companies like Travis Perkins, working with Variety, the Children’s Charity, our young people would miss out on so much ‘out-of-the-classroom’ learning. A Sunshine Coach enables us to plan for a more hands-on, practical curriculum to improve learning opportunities.

Katie Niven, PA to Group Construction and Development Team at Travis Perkins, said:

It has been a real honour to be able to support Variety over the years but when the team discovered what a Sunshine Coach was all about and what a difference it could make to young children, we made it our mission to help provide one.  We would like to thank Northgate academy for forming the partnership with Travis Perkins, the amazing Travis Perkins property Charity team for working tirelessly for the last 2 years in creating and hosting events to help raise funds with the support from the wider property team, and also for the amazing support we get from our contractors and suppliers as they always makes our events happen. They support them not only with their generosity but their energy and enthusiasm to support our chosen Charity, Variety. We honestly wouldn’t be us or do what we can for the charity without them.

Story by: Chloe Owen, PR and Communications Officer