YOUNGSTERS from far-flung Dales communities can expect more in the way of entertainment, help and advice with the launch of a new service.

A youth van is now available to travel to Swaledale communities, as well as venues in Richmond.

The vehicle is in addition to a similar service offered in Wensleydale, inspired by the vicar of Askrigg, the Reverend Ann Chapman.

North Yorkshire Police, the Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership, Richmond and Swaledale Community Education and Richmondshire District Council have all played a part co-ordinating the scheme.

Money for the van has come from the Countryside Agency, Richmondshire Community Safety Partnership and Community Education.

The project will operate under the name of the Fun Function, which boasts a logo designed by Richmond Youth Club members Will Morton and Sean Ferguson.

The van, complete in its new livery, will make its first run in the week after half-term, visiting Melsonby, Low Row, Gunnerside, Brompton-on-Swale and parts of Richmond itself.

Other communities can also expect visits, which will be advertised in advance.

Dawn Brown, community youth worker, said: "There is already something similar based around Leyburn, but I'm hoping this will really make a difference to young people from Swaledale.

"Hopefully, it will give them shelter and something to look forward to, but the youth workers will also be able to offer them advice on sensitive issues such as drugs and alcohol abuse.

"Of course, we already have youth clubs dotted around the area, but the Fun Function van will supplement the work they are already doing.

"We aim to notify communities about visits in advance, either through the parish councils, parish notice boards or local schools across the area. However, if anyone would like more information about the services which will be on offer, or about dates for visits, they are more than willing to contact the office in Richmond.''

The Fun Functions team can be reached on (01748) 850161.