Fancy owning a big yellow school bus?
Whether its reading spaces, quiet places or somewhere to meet new faces, Wiganers are being asked to submit their ideas for a chance to win a free decommissioned yellow school bus this summer.
Individuals, schools, community groups, sports teams and volunteer organisations can bid to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to win one of several yellow school buses that will be decommissioned from the existing fleet in July 2021.
Interested groups have until Friday, June 18 to submit their proposal online before the applications are considered and the winning entries announced.
Entries will be judged on several criteria, including originality, creativity and benefit to the community.
The competition has been set up to run once again following the success of similar schemes in summer 2019 and 2018.
In 2019, six buses were donated to various bidders, including Red Lane Primary School in Bolton. They turned their donated vehicle into a "Wellbeing bus", and currently use it as a dedicated space to provide social and emotional intervention for their pupils.
Similarly, St Stephen’s RC Primary School – another 2019 recipient – turned their bus into a reading area and tutoring place that has proven to be incredibly popular with pupils.
In 2018, the first decommissioned bus was delivered to Greswell Primary School in Denton.
Using lottery funding, the school transformed the bus into an outdoor library that is used by both students and the wider community.
TfGM Chair, Coun Mark Aldred, said: “Our yellow school buses are a fantastic service that allow children to get to school cheaply, safely and securely but, even when their life as a school service comes to an end, they can still be incredibly useful to communities.
“This scheme has been hugely successful when we have run it previously and I’ve been impressed with not just the creativity, but also the impact that previous projects have had on crucial issues such as child literacy and mental wellbeing.
“I’m really excited to see what community-spirited and thoughtful schemes people come up with this year as we hopefully continue to emerge from the pandemic and return to normality.”
Rhian Driver, head of Red Lane School, said: “‘Winning the school bus competition has been fantastic for our school.
“This has greatly supported the work on mental health and wellbeing that has always taken part in our school, but we now have further space to do this.
“This has been important given the increased challenges faced by our pupils during the pandemic. The pupils, parents and staff love it and it is a big feature of our school.”
Yellow School Buses are a service provided by TfGM for secondary school children in Greater Manchester. They are easy to spot, alerting road users that children will be getting on and off.
During the current pandemic, the buses are operating as regular dedicated school buses, meaning no passes will be needed and any child can board any service.
This allows more students to use the buses at a time when the overall capacity on the network is still likely to be reduced.
To apply visit https://tfgm.com/bus/your-bus
The Wigan Observer and Wigan Post are more reliant than ever on your taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Wigan news and information online, you can subscribe at www.wigantoday.net/subscriptions