A Liverpool-based charity has taken full ownership of its very own Steve Morgan Foundation Smiley Bus.
The Netherley Youth and Community Initiative became the 51st recipient of one of the familiar buses when it was first delivered five years ago.
Now the full ownership of the vehicle has passed from the Foundation to the charity and their project manager Sharon Williams said they couldn’t be happier.
“The Steve Morgan Foundation has been amazing to us and the bus has been an absolute godsend, especially during Covid when we were delivering food parcels door-to-door,” she said.
“Taking ownership of the Smiley Bus is a big thing for us and gives us even more certainty.”
The charity was first set up in 1996 and works with around 150 children a week.
Sharon Williams explained, “L27 is classed as one of the 7th poorest postcodes classed as deprived areas in Merseyside (Indices of Deprivation 2020). At the beginning (of NY&CI) we were running a parent/toddler group but it has progressed into youth and play provision.
“We’re now Ofsted registered and we provide both pre and after school provision as well as the youth and kids clubs we run in the evening.”
As well as working with around 150 children every week the charity helps 200 families a week through its food pantry.
“We’re very much at the heart of the community,” said Sharon. “All our services are based around community need.
“The Smiley Bus is constantly in use, whether that’s collecting children from home and bringing them to the centre or delivering food parcels during Covid to those families most in need.
“We also do regular residential trips and days outs in the bus, which really is the lifeblood of our community.
“When we’re not using the minibus we let other groups use it so it’s well used. Now it belongs to us and we couldn’t be happier.”
The Steve Morgan Foundation has so far delivered 89 Smiley Buses with two more on order.
Image: Netherley Youth and Community Initiative