Smiley Bus A ‘Priority’ For Vital Charity

A Smiley Bus awarded by the Steve Morgan Foundation is having a hugely positive effect on the lives of the children being helped by a youth initiative in Liverpool.

The Priority Youth Project comprises a dedicated team of youth workers, volunteers and trustees who work with children and young people in the community, offering support, education and leisure activities to develop their skills.

It is now two years since the Steve Morgan Foundation awarded a Smiley Bus to the Priority Youth Project, allowing them to replace their previous minibus which was leaking water and had mould growing inside.

“The minibus has allowed us to expand our offer of activities outside the region as we know that, as it’s new, it is reliable and safe so therefore we can travel longer distances so young people have experienced life away in different parts of the region,” says Sarah Hughes. Director of the Priority Youth Project.

“Children and young people are less isolated through having transport to attend activities outside of those communities, including trips out and attending residentials.

“They are forming new friendships and relationships with their peers by attending activities provided by the Priority Youth Project, which would not be possible without transport.

“Parents and carers are also less anxious knowing their child is safe and engaging into positive activities provided by the charity.

“By having access to a minibus we have also been able to work with other like-minded organisations and support them to expand their offer to the wider community by providing offers of transport.”

The Priority Youth Project also have an excellent support network of young people, parents and community members, and provide a range of different services.

Along with the activities trips out these also include offering advice and guidance, educational workshops, courses to boost employability and other training help, volunteering opportunities, one-to-one support and signposting young people to other agencies for specialised support and counselling.

The Smiley Bus has also helped the charity financially, reducing transport costs and therefore offering more opportunities to use more funds for the young people’s activities.

And perhaps the best judges of the overall impact of the Smiley Bus, are the young people themselves.

‘Wow this is boss, it’s so comfy,’ wrote one.

‘We can go out in the bus now even when it’s raining?!’

One great example of the use of the Smiley Bus came with taking 14 children aged between eight and 12 to a residential farm in Warrington last November, where they were able to spend time with friends and escape the stresses of everyday life.

The trip simply would not have been possible without the Smiley Bus, and the lack of transport costs meant it was open to everyone as there was no cost impact on the families.

The Priority Youth Project also work with many other organisations, and the Smiley Bus was used to take a group of pensioners aged between 60 and 80, known as ‘Young at Heart’, to activities such as Garden Centres, lunches with friends, and avoid the isolation they might have felt by staying at home.

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