A brand new Highbridge youth club has been launched this week onboard a bus!

The Mayor of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge, Cllr Bill Hancock, Mayoress Frances Hanock, and Town Crier Alastair Murray formally opened the new ‘Alpha Point’ bus in the town’s Bank Street car park.

It comes after Highbridge’s Gospel Tabernacle Evangelical Church group acquired the bus, formerly used by Bristol Youth Project, for use in the town.

It is equipped with its own generator and provides wi-fi, computers, a TV, gaming facilities, and it will be used to provide safe and accessible support for young people in Highbridge and the surrounding area on Friday evenings in Highbridge’s Bank Street car park.

“Both the Somerset Rural Youth Project and YMCA are providing qualified youth workers,” spokesperson Pastor Kelton Black, pictured above, told Burnham-On-Sea.com. “They will help with running two evening sessions.”

“We invite volunteers to join and help with the youth activities and driving the bus.”

“This new initiative is a good example of what can be achieved when local community groups work together.”

“The Highbridge Youth Provision Network is the first of its kind in Sedgemoor and was set up in response to the need for a co-ordinated approach, for supporting young people to access meaningful and responsive activities.”

Mayor Bill Hancock, pictured cutting a tape to open the bus, said: “It’s a marvellous facility for local young people – I’m all in favour of it and hope that it’s well used.”

Following a six-month trial of the Highbridge Youth Provision Network at Highbridge’s Morland Hall, funded by Knightstone Housing (now Liverty), from January to July 2017, the network was established in order to bring key people and stakeholders together.

During the past twelve months meeting every 4 – 6 weeks, the network has helped to secure funding towards carrying out consultation with young people to find out what they want; creating ‘Active communities’ funded street games being offered on a couple of estates and soon to be offered more widely; working with the All Churches team, to prepare and launch the Alpha Point bus.

Pastor Kelton Black added: “We want to create a mobile drop-in facility, initially two nights a week, with the bus in the Highbridge area. Youths will be invited aboard to enjoy the facilities on the bus which will include six desktop computers, a large presentation TV and group/individual gaming systems. We will have catering available for drinks and snacks and we propose to have wi-fi available.”

Alpha Point Bus will also act as ‘signpost’ service for young people, helping with community information including housing, finance, health, job search, and other social matters.

The bus could also host job clubs, Community Training Courses/workshops and other similar activities. Other community groups could apply to have the bus available to support other community activities.

This project has potential to grow and develop to serve Highbridge and surrounding area with much wider community services. It proposes to operate 46-48 weeks each year.

Pastor Kelton adds: “We are still looking for a secure parking space in the Highbridge area. If any local business or company has secure ‘hard standing’ where the bus could be housed when not in use. We need to have out of hours access, as the bus will often be used on evenings.”

The Highbridge Youth Provision Network includes support from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Liverty (formerly Knightstone Housing), Homes in Sedgemoor, Shal Housing, Wilstock Hub Bridgwater, YMCA, Somerset Rural Youth Project, Burnham Together Team, Sedgemoor Community Partnership and local Churches.