YOUNGSTERS at a Bournemouth special school will be able to enjoy more trips thanks to a new 'sunshine coach' minibus.

The bus was donated to Linwood School, in Alma Road, by Variety the Children's Charity, formerly the Variety Club, and funded by the philanthropic Desmond Foundation.

With the smart new vehicle added to their fleet the school will be able to provide more opportunities to students to explore the community and see sights they might not otherwise get a chance to visit.

Executive headteacher Julie Jeanes said: "We are absolutely delighted with this, we have increased capacity over the year with so many more children coming in and this will provide more opportunity for them to get out and about.

"They will be able to go on educational visits and real-life visits to places they perhaps won't have had a chance to go to before.

"Some of our children come from challenging backgrounds so this provides life experience and positive opportunities."

She said the support of charities like Variety and the foundation was essential for the school to thrive.

"It is crucial, there are a lot of challenges around school budgets at the moment so any additional funding and sponsorship to help us meet the needs of our children and offer them new experiences is welcome."

The bus was 'launched' in a ceremony at the school on Friday, attended by the Desmond family, parents Richard and Joy and youngsters Angel, seven, and Valentine, three.

Frances Cornelius, chairman of Variety Wessex, said the Desmonds had been supporting the charity for more than 40 years.

"They have given money to support sunshine coaches across the UK, and we wouldn't be able to do this work if it wasn't for sponsors like the Desmonds, Shan Seewooruthun of the Bournemouth Boys Club and 4Com."