More cash and more volunteers are needed to support a town centre youth cafe.
Brackley’s Youth Hub is now in its third year and is the only dedicated space for young people in the town.
Initially set up and run with £13,000 funding from the Youth Opportunities Fund, the cafe is facing an uncertain future if more grants and sponsors cannot be found.
Committee member Theo Hayward said: “This is a matter we have been addressing - how to increase our income and see whether there are grants that would help to keep the youth provision in the town. We do not want to lose the Hub because it is well supported. We do have a room on the High Street and we do have to pay a commercial rent for that site. It is so important to keep it going. This is the only opportunity for young people to call their own.”
Recent grants from the Northants Community Fund and the new homes bonus fund have allowed the Hub to employ a paid youth leader and co-ordinator. Previously the cafe was run by dedicated volunteers.
One of Adam Carmody’s roles will be to increase revenue for the Hub, which currently hires out the space it uses, as well as canvassing support from local business sponsors and community grant funding.
Ms Hayward said: “He just started the job at Easter. The grant that enabled us to employ him will last for a year and if he is successful we would hope that he would stay.”
Currently the Hub opens for three sessions a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-9pm and Tuesdays 3.30-5.30pm. There was an additional afternoon session but this has had to end due to a shortage of volunteers.
Ms Hayward added: “We do have just the three sessions because we need more volunteers. We would like to open more. That is our other need, for volunteers to come and help us.”
The cafe operates as an open house where youngsters aged between 11 and 18 can come and spend time with friends. The committee is also looking into the idea of opening the cafe during the school lunch hour to allow students who have permission to leave Magdalen College School during the break.
Some of those volunteers are young people themselves and young people are also involved in the running of their facility, making suggestions about what they would like to see there.
Ms Hayward explained: “The whole idea for the Youth Opportunity Fund was that the application had to come from the young people themselves so it was the young pepople who said they wanted somewhere they could call their own, just drop in and be their own space and they submitted that to the panel.”
If you can support the Hub with your time as a volunteer or financially Adam Carmody can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01280 701162.