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Funding for pop-up café to "engage young people"

by Michael Ford last modified 17 Jul, 2020 02:42 PM

Wiltshire Youth for Christ can continue to offer their pop-up café after a big donation from a community grant.

The mobile unit, which hosts hundreds of teenagers over school holidays and in term-time visits to youth groups, houses games consoles and video screens as well as catering equipment, games, sports gear, tables and chairs.

Wiltshire Youth for Christ has been awarded £8,640 from the Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund, using £5,000 donated by Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson through his £50,000 Covid-19 Response Fund.

Youth team leader Steve Dewar said the £8,640 from the Wiltshire Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund would be used to fund the staff and volunteers who run the van that converts into the café:

“The café can go anywhere, in the middle of a field or an estate, and it’s about partnership as well. It allows for conversations and interaction with the wider community but with young people at the heart of that, so we can get the police, parish councils or community groups there as well and we can knit them together.

“It’s going to where young people are at, whether that’s in the communities or in school settings,” he said.

“We engage young people on their level, whether that is using technology or just having a chat, and most importantly having face to face contact and not just reliant on a website that they have to visit. Youth workers and other support organisations can meet them and give them face to face encouragement.

“Many young people are bored, fearful, anxious, disappointed, isolated and disenfranchised as a consequence of lockdown, so we are really grateful for the grant.

“Talking to schools, we are hearing that they are concerned about young people are disconnecting from each other. They are talking on their phones, but they are missing face to face communication. The whole concept of the cafe is to give young people the opportunity to reconnect and also to talk about about their fears and their worries, and also to express themselves.”

He said those fears relate to life after the pandemic and the difficulties of emerging from lockdown:

“For a lot of young people I meet there is still stress, worry and anxiety about the many unknowns because they are not naturally in their social groups where they can talk about it and ask questions.”

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