Towcester News: Do you have Vision to help save youth cafe?

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A YOUTH service in Towcester which aims to keep young people off the streets will close in the summer unless the necessary funding is found.

For the last four years the Vision Youth Cafe, based at the Islington Road Community Centre, has targeted young people most likely to get into trouble.

The cafe is open and free to use two nights week and most weekends. It runs various projects to guide young people away from anti-social behaviour, including national accreditation for football coaching and food hygiene. Also, in partnership with police and the local authorities it hosts regular Sound Box events featuring a drum and bass DJ and graffiti artists, alongside youth workers giving advice on issues affecting teenagers such as sexual health and negative body image.

But this month it was revealed a cut in Northants County Council funding and a change in the tendered requirements could force the cafe to close. It is now having to find £2,000 by April in order to continue until July and find another source for the £20,000 a year running costs used to employ a youth worker and rent the community centre

Joe Plumb, 13, has been attending the cafe for two years and said he has friends whose behaviour has changed since they have attended it.

He added: “There’s not much for young people in Towcester and this gives you somewhere to go and keeps you off the street. It’s also quite a social group. I was never very social but the cafe has given me the confidence to go out and make friends.”

Cafe director Lisa Bolton said the cafe is a vital service for the town but accepts there are more pressing social issues in other parts of the county.

Miss Bolton said: “This is not an attack on the county council, it is more a case of looking for new funding schemes and to see if there’s community businesses and other support networks around to help out and keep the project going for the foreseeable future. We really need help from the community and parents. With the cafe closed the young people will have nowhere to go, meaning even more time left hanging out on the streets.”

On Saturday, April 16 the Cafe will host a fund raising car boot sale and afternoon fete in the car park off Islington Road. Anyone who can help the cafe should contact Miss Bolton via email at atlisa.vision@yahoo.co.uk