SINCE JANUARY, secondary students across Hong Kong have had a rare opportunity to improve their English language skills in a renovated double-decker bus-cum-classroom. And many more are clambering to be next in line. The unique learning project, called English Adventure, is one of the many English language initiatives taken by the British Council. Provided in partnership with Prudential, the programme helps stimulate interest in English language learning among secondary students by bringing it to them in an unusual and creative environment. Schools that sign up receive two consecutive days of English language lessons conducted by British Council teachers in the mobile classroom. Since the programme began, the bus has toured schools in Kowloon, the New Territories and Hong Kong Island. It is fully booked for the rest of the academic year. The British Council's English language programmes reach more than 27,000 individuals in Hong Kong a year. British Council deputy director Andrew Millburn said providing language services was one of the core competencies of the Hong Kong office. 'Our language services are very popular and reflect the concern of people in maintaining high English standards.' He said the increasing demand had grown more quickly than the supply. 'The gap has widened, and that's a challenge for Hong Kong as an international city. We aim to contribute to tackling this issue.' The British Council also seeks creative solutions through co-operative efforts between Britain and Hong Kong in the fields of arts, science and governance. One of its most successful projects this year in the area of creativity is Soul of the City II, a collaboration between the Wan Chai District Council, British designer Thomas Heatherwick and British urban regeneration specialist Fred Manson for the redesign of Southorn playground in Wan Chai. The aim of the project is to bring art to the playground. Local cultural activists, students and residents have participated in the consultation process and the UK team will deliver its final design proposal next month. 'We aim to make a difference in people's lives and create lasting relationships between Hong Kong and the UK,' Mr Millburn said. The recent launch by the British Council of the Young Lawyers Online Community is now forging relationships between young lawyers in Hong Kong, the mainland and Britain. 'It's about developing mutual understanding,' Mr Millburn said of the broader purpose of the council's initiatives. 'In the world we live in today, mutual understanding is more important than ever.'