A HOLIDAY chalet for disabled schoolchildren and their families was unveiled following an extensive refurbishment.

The chalet in Rockley Park, Poole, has been transformed from a “shack” to a beautifully decorated holiday home following a wide community effort.

The chalet, which is called Victoria Lodge, is owned by Victoria Education Centre and was donated to the school by John Grooms and The Shaftesbury Society nine years ago.

Over the years, due to a lack of funds, the chalet deteriorated and required refurbishment both inside and out so students and their families could have a place to spend quality time together.

Sue Hurd, a volunteer at the school, took on the project of refurbishing the chalet.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the opening of the chalet, she said: “The incredible support, generosity and kindness shown over these past five months has been overwhelming, from sole traders to multi-national companies, along with individual people who have approached me offering their help.

“Many have given up their weekends, evenings and early mornings to make this happen so this really has been a true DIY SOS.”

She added: “This truly has been a strong community-spirited project, and I know the children and families of Victoria Education Centre are so grateful that they have their little chalet back to all its glory.”

Lord Shaftesbury, a patron of the school, cut the ribbon to the new chalet before students and their families took a tour of the facility.

Connor Ferris said: “It’s definitely a lovely place, I could live there.”

And Mollie Westerby, who described the chalet as “rotten” before its makeover, said it looked “much better now”.

“I like the bathroom the most,” she added.

Simon Brown, head teacher of Victoria Education Centre, said: “It’s an extraordinary makeover. So many people have given so generously of their time and given so much energy and effort. They’re all volunteers who have provided resources in different ways.

“For the students who attend the school, and their families, this will mean they’ve got such a wonderful chalet that’s now fully accessible and is far superior than the old shack that it used to be.”