Five Star Support For Orchard Hill

College receives new, specially-adapted bus from Hilton Foundation


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Last week, Orchard Hill College was presented with a new, specially-adapted bus at the recently opened London Syon Park, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, thanks to a grant from Hilton in the Community Foundation.

Funds for the bus were raised at the Foundation’s flagship ball at London Hilton on Park Lane last December. The evening, celebrating Hilton in the Community Foundation’s 10th anniversary, raised £79,636 for Friends of Orchard Hill College and £330,000 in total for disadvantaged children.

A party of around 25 students, teachers, carers and parents were joined at the presentation by Andreas Panayiotou, chairman of the Ability Group and owner of London Syon Park, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel who also generously sponsored the Foundation ball. Also in attendance were Simon Vincent, area president, Europe, Hilton Worldwide, and Chairman of Hilton in the Community Foundation Trustees; and Dame Maureen Thomas, fellow Trustee and Chair of the Ball Committee.

Simon Vincent said, “Hilton in the Community Foundation is delighted to be able to support Orchard Hill College and hopes that this bus will give students with disabilities at the college a much greater level of mobility for trips and activities. Providing young people with the opportunities to show their talent is so important and we’re thrilled that we can help Orchard Hill to support their students’ needs. I would like to thank the Ability Group for their generous sponsorship of the Foundation ball, which helped to make this grant possible.”

Following the presentation of the bus, students, teachers and other attendees were invited to take a tour of the newly opened luxury hotel, which is set in 200 acres of parkland, owned for the past 400 years by the Duchy of Northumberland. The students were invited to try some sweet treats at the hotel’s ‘Brownies’ ice cream parlour as well as observe the unique Butterfly House which features more than 1000 butterflies.

Orchard Hill College is a non-residential Independent Specialist College with Centres across London providing a friendly and supportive learning environment for young people with severe/profound and complex learning difficulties or disabilities. The specially adapted bus, which displays Hilton in the Community Foundation’s logo, will provide students with vital access to activities outside of the College grounds, including sports events, educational trips and cultural visits.

John Holmes, Chairman of the Friends of Orchard Hill College said: “The Friends of Orchard Hill College are delighted to receive this generous donation from Hilton in the Community Foundation in conjunction with the Ability Group, of a brand new specially adapted bus for the students of Orchard Hill College. This will greatly benefit the students and staff by being able to take out complete classes and having increased access to teaching programs and community facilities such as hydrotherapy pools, leisure centres and work placements. The Friends are hoping this year to be able to pay for another bus by putting our existing funds together with the pledges of £20,000 made at Hilton Ball last year, once we manage to raise another £20,000.”

Hilton in the Community Foundation is Hilton Worldwide’s official charity vehicle in Europe, dedicated to supporting disadvantaged young people. The charity works with Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of hotels to maximise fundraising - each hotel is encouraged to support good causes within their local communities through the Foundation.

Dale MacPhee, general manager, London Syon Park, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, said,
“We are delighted to host this presentation and welcoming Orchard Hill College students and supporters to the hotel. Working to provide a positive local impact is an important part of our hospitality philosophy and we’re looking forward to working with Hilton in the Community Foundation and supporting more good causes within our local community.”

March 23, 2011