A major donation from local housebuilder Denbury Homes has helped Porch Project get a mobile youth centre on the road and provide support and facilities to more children and young people across Hadleigh, Great Cornard and surrounding areas.
Porch Project is a youth culture charity in Suffolk that helps those aged 11 to 19 reach their full potential.
Since Denbury Home’s generous grant, Porch Project youth workers have been able to bring the charity’s services and assistance to many more young people in Suffolk.
The mobile unit is packed with fun, including game consoles, hot chocolate, and plentiful snacks. With laptops and printers on board too, students and young adults are being offered a safe space to complete homework or job applications.
Rebecca Hodnett, Lead Youth Worker speaks about how important it has been for their services to become more accessible: “Children and young adults are each on their own journey, and we are there to help them stay on the right path. Being mobile, the van gives us the chance to reach more young people, and remove some of the barriers that might otherwise prevent them from accessing our services. It’s also lovely to give youngsters a place to relax with friends and enjoy some downtime.”
She continues: “Growing up can have its difficulties, whether that is school-related or at home. Our youth workers are closely aligned with a range of other charities and organisations to provide joined-up and integrated support based on the current needs of our age group and their associated family members. The warm and friendly environment onboard gives young people the confidence to open up, and we can provide help or additional signposting if required.”
The motorised youth centre has been a huge success, with over 300 young people taking advantage of its services in the last year. As a transportable youth club, it’s highly versatile, even managing to transform some locations into a football pitch using the vehicle’s headlights.
One of the young people using the service, Lacey, said: “The Porch bus can turn a dull day into a lot of fun.”
She continued: “Most importantly, though, it makes me feel safe. The volunteers and the people I have met feel like family, and it’s great to socialise with others that I would not usually have the chance to speak with.”
Another revealed how friendly it is inside: “The new van feels homely and safe.”
Rebecca goes on to talk about its future: “We are delighted with the van, which would not have been possible without Denbury Homes’ grant. It brings exciting possibilities, for us and for young people living around Suffolk as we look at what the future could bring. We want to expand our routes further into rural areas and villages, where amenities are scarce.”
Joshua Hopkins, of the Denbury Charitable Fund and Land Director at Denbury Homes, said: “The van looks incredible. It’s fantastic to hear about the positive impact it has already had on young people and I look forward to watching Porch’s mobile services go from strength to strength. We’re very proud to support charities across East Anglia, helping reach families, children and other individuals throughout the region.”
The donation is one of several significant projects recently supported by the Denbury Charitable Fund. Since 2017 the fund has given out grants and donations of over £1 million in Suffolk alone, through a combination of small grants, campaigns, and donations to support major projects in the region. To find out more about the Porch Project, please visit https://porchproject.co.uk/youth-programmes/. More information about the grants available through the Denbury Charitable Fund is available here: https://www.denburyhomes.co.uk/charitable-fund/