A YOUTH charity supporting young carers, victims of crime and those facing challenges in their lives will be able to help more of them gain confidence and make new friends at activity days thanks to a coronavirus fund grant.

Youth Action Wiltshire, the youth arm of Community First, has been awarded £5,000 towards a new minibus from Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. The fund has distributed more than £1.5 million through more than 300 grants in the last 15 months.

YAW delivers the Splash Young Victims of Crime service for youngsters across Swindon and Wiltshire who have been subject to prolonged bullying or have been victims of other crime. Its general Splash programme works with hundreds of young people aged nine to 16 across Wiltshire.

YAW also supports hundreds of young carers across the county providing support, respite activities and advocacy through its Wiltshire Young Carers Service.

Normally the charity provides dozens of activity days for young people to take part in days out.

As it takes a step towards normality, YAW has been ferrying young people groups from each of its programmes to activity days at its Oxenwood Outdoor Education Centre near Marlborough.

The charity’s five minibuses are essential for helping isolated young people get to the activities, but with one bus now too old and finances decimated by lost fundraising.

“Young victims of crime really benefit from positive experiences with peers, developing new skills and spending time with other young people who have had similar experiences is really comforting and helps them to move on from the negative experiences they have had.”

The next stage for the group is to begin regular activities across the county again.

“It’s also important because those young people who have been bullied don’t want to do activities near where they live in case they see those people who have been bullying them. They want to be able to enjoy themselves where they aren’t looking over the shoulder all the time.“

Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “Youth Action Wiltshire’s wonderful support for young people has never been more needed and we are pleased to help that work with this grant.”