Cowfold hosted a celebration last week, as the Purple Bus marked 21 years of supporting young people in Horsham and Chichester districts.
The Purple Bus provides a mobile drop-in centre for young people, supporting youth work in rural areas which lack other facilities for young people.
Bernard Baldwin, chairman of the Purple Bus trustees, introduced West Sussex Deputy Lord Lieutenant Brenda Large, who led the celebrations and cut the cake.
Mrs Large praised the Purple Bus and its staff. She described herself as a ‘townie’, but said she had some idea of what it is like to live in a rural community with little or no public transport.
Mr Baldwin told the County Times that their success was down to two things - the hard work of the bus staff, and the fact that they work in partnership with Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council, parish councils and youth clubs, the Snack Wagon, Horsham Matters, police, and housing associations.
“Obviously we’re very proud to have completed our 21 years,” he said. “We’re proud of the people who work on the vehicle, and of our partnership working.”
Purple Bus project leader Dan Sneller was on hand to explain about their work and show off their electric racing car - a project they have been running for three years.
The project takes young people who are neither employed nor in education, and brings them together to work on the car and to compete in races against similar vehicles. Taking part teaches them practical skills but, perhaps more importantly, it provides lessons in how to operate as a team.
They recently raced at Goodwood, and came away with the idea of creating a data logger, similar in concept to those used by Formula One teams, to monitor the car’s speed, temperature, and battery power.
“The next group we have will look at what they can do to improve the car, and the obvious thing is to start shedding weight,” he said.
Also at the event were West Sussex County Council chairman Pat Arculus, also a Trustee of the Purple Bus; county council vice chairman Lionel Barnard; fellow Trustee Teresa Gittins, and Horsham District Council chairman Christian Mitchell.
“Horsham District Council has been a supporter and partner of the Purple Bus since the project’s inception,” said Mr Mitchell.
“I was delighted to have joined the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mrs Brenda Large and Bernard Baldwin in celebrating the delivery of quality rural youth work that the Purple Bus was created in 1995.
“It is great to have a mobile youth provision which gives young people help and support around the district and which provides them with the opportunity to seek advice on certain issues that they may have.
“This is a fantastic example of partnership and working together in action. This 21st anniversary is a significant milestone and it shows the dedication and commitment of the Management Team and Trustees led by Bernard Baldwin and the hard work of the Project Manager Dan Sneller and his team of workers.”
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