Smiley Bus Impact “Goes Beyond Words”

Wrexham Warehouse Project have provided some hugely positive feedback about the impact of a Smiley Bus awarded by the Steve Morgan Foundation back in 2015.

The charity grew out of a former derelict building, converted by a group of young people with the support of a local building company, to be used as a dedicated and friendly space for young people to develop their work and life skills.

As it developed, the Wrexham Warehouse Project has offered a variety of clubs and societies and courses including sport, music, theatre, cooking and much more.

The award of the Smiley Bus allowed the charity more flexibility in being able to take the young people out and about to enjoy training and leisure opportunities, while it is also lent out to other charities from the local community to help with their transport needs or charity fundraising.

“The impact of the access of the minibus goes beyond words as it has offered members of our local community the opportunity to access universal services, to explore the wider world and become more socially mobile,” said the charity’s manager, Tracy Jones.

“It has allowed us to use our building and project to the best of our ability by providing free and easy access to various services and groups, initially to promote and develop educational courses for young people who are on the cusp of exclusion or at conflict with the legal system, to enhance their life chances and personal development.

“The Smiley Bus has offered many opportunities to vulnerable, isolated or hard to reach young people and adults alike.

“This has included allowing us to undertake spontaneous events with young and vulnerable people from the local community, to take them off-site and broaden their horizons through new experiences.

“Many of these people had never even visited their local coastline and we have been able to take them to the local beach and Blackpool beach, as well as educational organisations such as local museums and castles and Oswestry Ironworks, to explore services which may previously have been beyond their reach either financially or socially.

“A young art group also displayed their works at the Senedd in Cardiff, and many of these young people and their parents would have been unable to travel the distance to view the exhibition.

“The Smiley Bus enabled them to do so, helping them to experience different cultures, new experiences and the wonder of the capital of Wales.

“Overall, the Smiley Bus has allowed individuals and groups to be more socially mobile and access universal services that would otherwise have been beyond their reach or affordability.”

Other positive examples of the charity’s work include the Wrexham Men’s Sheds where people who have suffered from various different issues take on various practical projects, using the Smiley Bus for transportation.

Another young man was able to develop so much during his time at the Wrexham Warehouse Project that he landed a place to study Politics at Durham University, the Smiley Bus taking him and his belongings to and from his accommodation.

The difference this project had made to either individuals, the local community and various organisations has been vast and wide reaching,” added Tracy.

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