Charity appeal to keep ‘youth bus’ moving

Worth Unlimited's Waltham Forest youth bus
Worth Unlimited’s Waltham Forest youth bus, for which volunteers are needed

Volunteers needed to keep Worth Unlimited on the road, reports Irena Barker

A charity that runs a much-loved mobile youth club in some of the most deprived parts of the borough is appealing for volunteers and fundraisers.

The youth bus run by national charity Worth Unlimited, which no longer receives financial support from Waltham Forest Council, needs volunteers to do everything from driving and maintaining the vehicle to working directly with the children aged 11-19 years who visit.

Volunteer youth workers and mentors have a varied role from simply chatting with young people to leading activities, such as cooking in the bus’s small kitchen. They might also be called upon to help young people with homework, or simply tell them about other activities and services they can access.

The bus runs sessions in five different locations on weekday evenings. Volunteers are also needed for a fixed youth club the charity runs at Priory Court Estate – people who can help with admin or hold fundraising events are being encouraged to apply. Managers are also on the look out for someone to help develop a furniture recycling social enterprise the charity is setting up.

The appeal comes amid rising levels of youth violence in East London. Worth Unlimited argues that by engaging vulnerable young people in activities, offering them guidance and a chance to meet with friends, they can play a role in keeping them off the streets and away from crime.

Helen Perry, branch manager for Worth Unlimited in Waltham Forest, said: “We are looking for enthusiastic people from all walks of life who have an interest in helping out with our youth bus, youth club and social enterprise.

“We rely on the generosity of many different people and organisations to make our work possible and there are so many different ways that you can be involved in or support our projects.

“Volunteering can be extremely rewarding and can also prove to be the first step in a career working with young people.

“We would love to hear from anybody who can spare some time to help us continue our much-valued work with young people across the borough.”

Monique Francois, 37, who has been a volunteer youth worker on the bus for the last year, said: “It’s an invaluable use of one’s time – I get so much out of it. Young people are very open to anyone who wants to get to know them and there is automatic acceptance. I felt supported by youth workers, very welcomed.”

No experience or qualifications are necessary for the roles but volunteers must be prepared to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and training. Fundraising packs are available for anyone who wants to hold an event to raise money for the youth clubs.

For more information about the Worth Unlimited youth bus in Waltham Forest:
Call 0208 090 5045