A NEW coffee van that will help a charity with its running costs while providing invaluable experience to its service users has launched.

Backup North West, a Bolton charity which helps young people who are homeless to gain skills for independence, has been operating for nearly 30 years.

In their latest venture, a coffee and cake van has been created to help with funds as well as assisting people in gaining job skills for their CV.

Charity CEO Maura Jackson said that the funds mean the charity won't rely entirely on grants and other donations - though they plan on the van being a staple of the community in its own right.

The charity's service users, aided by Backup staff, will be helping with the van, which is currently based in Rivington Terraced Gardens.

David Schofield, social enterprise lead at the charity, said: "It's about giving people skills and giving them the experience and confidence they need.

"A lot of our young people have no work experience so it's about helping them. We are already looking at expanding it into Bolton, as we'd like to be more visible in the area."

The van was set to be launched last March, although the pandemic kicked the idea into touch until now.

Bolton-based Rijo42, the UK's leading independent supplier of commercial coffee machines, has lent their support to the cause, providing equipment for the van.

They also intend to help provide barista training to the young people.

Maura said: "The idea is to sell coffee and cake but to make money for the charity and raise awareness of what we do too.

"Further down the line we want people to be able to book us for events."

While many of Backup's service users will be volunteering within the charity, other people from across the borough who are seeking work experience can get involved.

The van is currently open on weekends and can be found by the Pigeon Tower in Rivington.

If you are interested, email David directly at David@backup-charity.org.uk.