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Mobile youth club for Abbey ward in Cambridge receives funding



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The Abbey ward in Cambridge is to get a mobile youth club in a van - and there are longer-term hopes of another in a converted train carriage.

The charity Abbey People has teamed up with Cambridge United Community Trust on the projects, which are designed to provide flexible, social and creative activities for young people aged 13-19 in what is the most deprived ward in the city.

The 'bus' that Abbey People and Cambridge United Community Trust intend to turn into a mobile youth club
The 'bus' that Abbey People and Cambridge United Community Trust intend to turn into a mobile youth club

Now acting Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner Ray Bisby has confirmed funding of £3,000 from his youth and community fund to aid the work.

It will be used to kit out a van, or ‘bus’, that was donated by Network Rail, which used it for consultation events.

Nicky Shepard, CEO of Abbey People, told the Cambridge Independent: “It could have video editing kit or gaming kit in there - some cool technology. As soon as the situation improves, we will be out and about, finding out what young people want to do with it. There’s no youth club in Abbey.”

A mobile youth club will enable Abbey People and CUCT to work across the ward, which is divided by major transport routes.

The 'bus' that Abbey People and Cambridge United Community Trust intend to turn into a mobile youth club, in its former guise as a consultation vehicle for Network Rail (44432483)
The 'bus' that Abbey People and Cambridge United Community Trust intend to turn into a mobile youth club, in its former guise as a consultation vehicle for Network Rail (44432483)

“We can go and work in different neighbourhoods. It will be a really good community asset,” said Nicky.

Apprentices at the Marshall Centre will help to refurbish the vehicle, which can accommodate up to 12 people, and could also be used by partner organisations such as Romsey Mill or Hammer and Tong.

Abbey People also plans to create a separate coffee truck social enterprise, helping young people to gain barista training, food hygiene training and work experience.

They would then provide café services to the public, based at Abbey Pool and elsewhere at weekends, with the income used to help fund the ongoing costs of running the youth club.

Nicky Shephard, Abbey People (44000040)
Nicky Shephard, Abbey People (44000040)

“We have the funding but can’t find the right truck,” said Nicky, who urged anyone with a suitable vehicle to get in touch.

“In the long-term, we are talking to Network Rail about potentially getting a train carriage near Abbey Leisure for a more permanent youth club.”

Abbey People and CUCT also hope to improve sports facilities in the ward by resurfacing the facilities at Ditton Fields Recreation Ground and potentially at Peverel Road park.

Read more

Abbey: The ‘forgotten’ ward in England’s most unequal city

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