Young people in Weymouth have a new safe and fun space to enjoy in the evenings.

In a creative response to the evolving needs of the Weymouth community, the Dorset Council targeted youth work team has joined forces with Dorset Youth Association to roll out the #WillDoesBus. 

The bus itself was fundraised for by the #WillDoes charity, an organisation dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Dorset.  

The new programme launched at the Esplanade in February, and will be visiting there for seven weeks before moving to the Marsh skatepark.

The bus is open on Wednesday evenings for local young people, offering a safe and supportive haven from 5.30pm to 8pm. 

In a departure from the traditional community youth work approach, typically conducted in public spaces like train stations or park areas, the #WillDoesBus initiative recognises the challenges posed by unlit, cold, and dull spaces during this time of year. 

It introduces a mobile safe space, providing young people with a refuge to relax, play music, engage in games, and connect with trained youth workers.  

With refreshments on hand, the bus becomes a hub for open conversations about any issues impacting the lives of the local youths.  

The bus' design includes a dedicated quiet room for confidential one-on-one conversations. 

Cllr Byron Quayle, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for children, education, and early help, said: “It’s really great to see people coming together to provide this flexible and entertaining space for our young people. I’d like to say a big thank you to all who are involved.” 

Weymouth Town Council has played a pivotal role in supporting this initiative, allowing the bus to park on Weymouth Esplanade.  

In the future, the team wish to explore additional locations within the Weymouth area to extend its reach. 

The #Willdoes charity is dedicated to the memory of William Paddy, a sporty, charismatic teenager who grew up near Swanage. 

Sadly, William died aged 14 when he was found unresponsive by his mother Lesley who performed CPR but was unable to resuscitate him.

Lesley went on to create the charity in his name which is continuing to honour his memory with the creation of the new safe space.

For more information about Dorset Council’s work with young people see the Dorset Youth Association, Dorset Youth Voice and Pineapple Project Instagram pages.