A former supermarket van has been pimped up to provide young people across the town a place to meet in their neigbourhood.
Equipped with electronic entertainment, sports equipment, music, crafts, as well as refreshments, the Bios van is now used by 350 young people at 12 locations in Swindon, providing opportunities to meet their friends and youth workers in an informal setting, and make positive life choices.
At the official launch of the Bios van in late April Chris Priddy, director for Bios Settings for Life, said: “About 5 years ago we realised we needed a place where young people could gather in their own areas, where we could engage them in positive activities and start to tackle anti-social behaviour. Angus suggested we look at a mobile facility and came through with a grant; the business community have also provided great financial support.”
The van was funded by a £65,000 grant from the community initiative fund set up by Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus MacPherson, and sponsorship from many local businesses. He said: “The Bios mobile youth club was one of the first innovation grants; it set the tone for those that followed – a bit wacky, trying to take a different approach to problems.”
James Phipps, CEO of lead corporate sponsor Excalibur Communications and IT for Business, added: “Chris and his team are inspirational; they make you realise it’s the responsibility of all of us to provide positive opportunities for young people in our community. Excalibur is proud to have helped put the Bios van on the road; its a project we’ll continue to support.”
Youth worker Amy Cox said more volunteers would make it possible to take the mobile youth club to more places. “We currently visit schools during lunch break and after school, then park in different locations during the evening. Our aim is to work with young people aged ten to twenty years who perhaps who wouldn’t engage if they had to go into a building. There is a come and go atmosphere which doesn’t restrict the users.”
To find out about volunteering with Bios contact email@example.com or call 07443 640183.
Top, the Bios team of workes and volunteers
Centre, Swindon Wildcats Ryan Aldridge and Aaron Nell
Left, Fifty five businesses made donations totalling £1,100 to have their logos graffitied onto the Bios van. Link publisher Roger Ogle with James Phipps of lead sponsor Excalibur Communications & IT.