A CHARITY which helps young people who are or at risk of being homeless is cashing in on the growing trend for good quality takeaway coffee.

Bolton based BACKUP Northwest has put its own mobile coffee van on the road as its first ever commercial enterprise to raise money to help some of the borough's most vulnerable.

And the van, called Charlie, will be staffed by volunteers, which will include the very people the charity helps ­— current and ex-residents of BACKUP, as well as staff, supporters and members of the public, who want to get involved.

The start-up costs have been funded by a grant from Homeless Link which aims to assist charities, develop social enterprises and end homelessness.

The young people volunteering will develop and learn new skills which will benefit them as they seek employment.

BACKUP will hire the van for corporate and community events as well as private functions.

The coffee is being supplied by Bolton-based Rijo42 which are partnering with BACKUP.

Vimto (Nichols plc) is also said to be keen to back the venture and both companies have offered support to help the scheme get started.

Bolton Whites’ kiosk department has donated a till.

Westhoughton-based Cakes and Bakes by Anna and The Cakery from Turton will supply the cakes to go with a hot cuppa.#

BACKUP CEO Maura Jackson explained that they are keen to work with local businesses on the new venture.

“We are very excited about this venture that has been in the planning for a couple of years,” she added. “We are very keen to develop this new social enterprise and not only raise income to continue to tackle homelessness but offer opportunities to people to build confidence and employability skills. It’s win/win.”

The coffee van will be serving hot drinks and cake at various locations throughout Bolton.

BACKUP is based on the Surestore Industrial Estate of Manchester Road in Bolton. It was set up as Bolton Young Persons Housing Scheme in 1992

To find out more about the van or to volunteer to help, contact Gabrielle on 01204 520183