Bus transformed into mobile youth centre

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Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt aboard the new Foundation 92 bus. STAGECOACH

A bus has been given a new lease of life to support a partnership aimed at tackling youth-related antisocial behaviour on public transport in Greater Manchester. For more than a year, Foundation 92, formed by the Class of 92 and official charity partner of Salford City FC, has been supporting the TravelSafe Partnership across the region’s transport network.

Foundation 92 had been using a minibus kitted out with a TV and games console to provide young people with somewhere to meet and socialise away from transport interchanges and tram stops. But due to high demand for its services, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) secured a former Stagecoach bus which has been given a makeover to serve as the charity’s new, expanded mobile youth zone.

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The bus, which has been funded through the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund following a joint bid by TfGM and British Transport Police (BTP), has been fitted out with an interactive games space, table sports, refreshments and a relaxation area. It will also have the capability for virtual reality (VR) software, which is due to be launched later this year.

Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester Vernon Everitt said: “Foundation 92 and its hard-working team has become a crucial part of the TravelSafe Partnership, engaging with around 2,000 young people in communities across our region. It has been so effective that often the mobile youth hub has become overwhelmed with the level of interest shown by young people, so I am delighted that the TravelSafe Partnership has come together to secure funding for this new bus. My thanks to Stagecoach and all TravelSafe Partners for making it happen.

“This will help increase Foundation 92’s capacity to provide a safe space for young people, some of whom are vulnerable, to socialise away from our public transport facilities and explore how they can play a full and constructive role in the creation of the Bee Network.”

Head of Foundation 92 Tom Hutton commented: “We’re delighted to be further extending our work with TfGM through the F92 mobile youth zone. The impact the mobile zone has made so far has been outstanding and I’m looking forward to supporting more young people through the additional youth zone across the transport network. I’d like to thank TfGM for their continued support.”

Stagecoach Manchester has previously donated buses to local communities in the region, with one being converted into a vaccination centre during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and another being used last year to support an NHS England campaign centred on the importance of early cancer diagnosis.

Operations Director at Stagecoach Manchester Rebecca Rathore said, “Stagecoach has a proud history of supporting the communities we serve. Having been a partner of TravelSafe since its inception in 2015, we are pleased to collaborate with them and TfGM in supporting Foundation 92 in this project which is making a significant difference in the lives of young people, our customers, and our local communities.

“Our donation of a bus will enable Foundation 92, to build on the success of the work that they have been doing and engage with even more young people to talk to them about positive behaviour on public transport and provide a much-needed space for them to hang out.”

The bus is fitted with an interactive games area, as well as table sports and a refreshments area. STAGECOACH
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