A lodge of Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes – or Buffs – based in Darran in eastern Saudi Arabia has presented £2,906.98 to the development of Uplands Educational Trust Learning Centre which opens in September.
The contact with the group came via Linda Meadows who worked at Uplands School ten years ago when it was based in Penhill, four years before it moved into its current North Swindon premises.
Students Lottie Palfreman and Tom Wisden receive a cheque from Linda and Chris Meadows with Del Fry, activng chair of governors and TA Kyle Ismail
Husband Chris, who was based at RAF Lyneham, now trains Saudi air force engineers with BAE Systems, said: “There are Buff branches all over the world including Wiltshire which engage in fundraising for good causes.
‘We have about 30 members in our Shamal Lodge who come from Britain, South Africa, Australia and the USA, but our raffles and social functions attract a much larger following of ex-patriots from around the globe based in our region of Saudi.”
Uplands Educational Trust Learning Centre is a new initiative to help young people aged 19 to 25 make the transition to living as independent adults. Deputy headteacher Andy Segal said the future for young people after leaving Uplands has been limited. “It’s very difficult to find them the appropriate support in colleges and some have to travel away from Swindon.
"For many of our young people leaving the school means moving from a lively stimulating environment surrounded by other young people and helpers to one where they don’t see many people and spend a lot of times indoors watching TV.
"The Uplands Educational Trust is our way of tackling this issue. In September we’re opening a learning centre at Stratton Road to provide further personalised learning, supported work opportunities, community involvement and life skills training.”
Linda said: “The lodge were discussing which charity to support over the next few months and I put forward Uplands which does great work with children with disabilities. When I worked in the school when it was in Penhill I spent a lot of time calling Swindon businesses for donations as there was very little money for student activities.
"I remember the head one day saying the school was running on vapour; there wasn’t any money. Now, I can’t stop beaming, it’s just wonderful to see the new school; its absolutely fantastic and we were really pleased to hear about how Uplands is going to help over 19s.”
The Uplands Charity Shop at Redhouse Village Centre needs good quality clothing and accessories, books, toys, unwanted gifts, DVDs and small household items to sell in support of the Uplands Educational Trus
Call 01793 753013 to help.
Open: Mon, Wed, Fri 10am – 4pm; Tues 10am – 2.30pm; Sat 10am – 2pm