New bus drives activities to young people

Official opening of the Youth Bus with council officers and councillor cutting a ceremonial red ribbon

A youth bus has been launched by Enfield Council, offering a safe place for young people to gather with friends and supportive adults.

The bus can be driven to the heart of any area in Enfield where youth provision is lacking, and it is designed to attract young people who wouldn’t want to or be able to engage in activities in a youth centre or similar location.

The bus is an additional service provided by the Council’s Youth Development Service and complements the offer in Enfield’s existing five youth centres.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Abdul Abdullahi, said: “The youth bus can be deployed to the most socially deprived wards where there is no youth provision and will have the flexibility to go wherever the need is greatest - this could be in an estate, town centre, bus station or an open space where young people socialise.  We know some people don’t want to go to youth centres, so it’s important that we can provide a service that reaches out to young people and goes directly to them. With regular engagement activities, the professionals on board can build effective and meaningful relationships and help develop strategies so every person on the bus leaves with a sense of purpose. Our youth provisions and early help interventions will ultimately safeguard vulnerable young adults and prevent situations from escalating.”

Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cohesion, Cllr Gina Needs, attended the official launch of the bus in Enfield Town (pictured, 23 November). Cllr Needs was given a tour by Enfield Young Leader Adam Rai who was recently commended as a young role model in the 2022 Ignite Awards, which recognises the success of young people in Enfield.

Cllr Needs said: “This bus could be a lifeline for a young person who does not feel they have anywhere else to go. The bus is operating against a backdrop of huge cuts to youth services across England. The interactions and services on the bus could be the first step to stopping young people from falling into violence or even criminality.”

Kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment such as digital tablets, games consoles and music stations, the bus encourages its ‘passengers’ to take up activities, use the internet, obtain help with applications and to receive advice from qualified Council officers on a broad range of subjects. As well as great equipment, the youth bus will have the capacity to deliver bespoke workshops on themes such as harm reduction activities, job interviews and training. The Council will work with a number of partners including public health services, voluntary and community groups.

To find out more about the bus and other youth services, follow #youthenfield or Youth_Enfield on Instagram. The bus 'timetable' will be added to the Youth Enfield website.