Project Challenge celebrates 20 years: Help us find £25k to replace ‘Old Rusty’

Project Challenge feature, Dean Clough, Halifax'Pictured with new mini-bus sponsor board are Peter Dawber, Les Wilson, Trudy McLaughlin and Lorna Butterick
Project Challenge feature, Dean Clough, Halifax'Pictured with new mini-bus sponsor board are Peter Dawber, Les Wilson, Trudy McLaughlin and Lorna Butterick

WITH 120,000 miles on the clock, it’s no wonder the Project Challenge minibus has the nicknames “Loser Cruiser” and “Old Rusty”.

But the pressure is on to raise £25,000 to buy the charity a new bus in May for the first time since 1999.

The bus is vital for the staff.

Each Project Challenge group goes on three residentials lasting three, four and five days.

It takes them to the airport for their final expedition and is the way they can get the group to training sessions.

But their current bus is on its last wheels. To try encourage people to offer their support, they have divided their new dream minibus into parts, priced from £250 to £2,000.

Each person, business or group, can then “own” a piece of the bus.

Business manager Lorna Butterick said: “To me it’s an extension of our classroom.

“We take the young people out and about and for many it can be the first time outside Halifax.”

Trudy McLaughlin said: “It’s going to enable us to keep running with the same capacity. If we don’t have one, we’d have to reduce the numbers.

“It’s a learning tool. Students get hands-on experience by getting out there.”

Their buses get pushed to the extreme. There are as many tales for Old Rusty as there are for each of the trips.

It has broken down at the worst moments – as one group were on their way to the airport for their expedition, causing a fleet of taxis to come to the rescue to get the young people on the plane.

One year, in extreme snow, Pete Dawber was caught inside and couldn’t push his way out.

But there is a headlight at the end of the tunnel. The Gleddings school has raised £700 through a Christmas carol concert and they hope in this, their anniversary year, people will dig deep.

The staff team are running a fund-raising drive where they hope other local young people will organise events to help them towards their total.

What they plan is up to them, but every penny will count towards their dream of a new minibus by May.

They hope a group of 16 to 18-year-olds will organise a fund-raising campaign.

In true Project Challenge style, it will be a two-way agreement. The young people will benefit from hands-on work experience, enhancing their CV and boosting UCAS forms.

“We want to get young people who wouldn’t necessarily use Project Challenge involved in helping us shape other young people’s futures,” said Lorna.

“But they will get plenty out of it too.”

Already money is coming in.

Can you help to make a massive difference to this inspirational charity?

To donate to the appeal or find out more, contact Lorna on 01422 363644.