Pitstone Parish Council offers a Youth Cafe service for senior school children aged 11-18 years on a Wednesday evening from 6.30 pm to 8 pm during term time at Brookmead school hall. We contract with a specialist in the field of youth cafe’s and youth work to provide this service.
The cafe was created in recognition of the fact that other ‘youth clubs’ in the village had all ceased operating and Bucks County Council had withdrawn all funding and support, leaving young people with no-where safe to meet, socialise and learn new experiences. This left the young people gathering outside the shops, restaurants, bus stops and playgrounds. The young people asked for somewhere warm, dry and safe to meet. It provides a particularly valuable service in our rural community where children tend to dissipate between a wide number of senior schools (Tring, Wing, 3 x Aylesbury and Stoke), giving them a means of keeping in touch with other local children and sharing experiences.
Refreshments are available for purchase. As well as providing a safe, dry meeting place for them to chat, we have a range of equipment that they can use whilst on site such as table tennis, pool, consoles, board games, skate ramps (helmets must be worn), basketball, frisbee etc. The young people can speak with our youth workers about any personal or social problems they may be experiencing. PCSO J Dodson also tries to attend the cafe sessions each week, and the young people are welcome to speak to her about any concerns, policing matters, bullying etc.
The cafe is not a traditional youth ‘club’ and does not provide structured or enforced activities in the same way as more formal organisations such as the Scouting or Guiding movements.
Pitstone Parish Council meets all the running and employment costs. In recognition of the fact that parish councillors are not trained youth workers, the management of the cafe is contracted to a specialist in the field. The cafe is also supported by a number of volunteers who attend, supervise and interact with the young people. If you would be interested in joining the voluntary team, please contact the parish clerk, as more helpers are always required.
This service is a drop-in cafe, not a formal youth club. Young people and their parents must both sign an application form before the child can attend. The young people then sign in on arrival and pay the entry fee of £2 which contributes towards the overheads. There is no obligation to attend each week or for your child to attend the whole session (for instance, some may pop in just to speak with a youth worker about a particular issue). If the children wish to leave site before the end of the session, they must sign out again. The majority of young people within this age range make their own way to and from the cafe, so please make sure that your child exercises due care and diligence when travelling around the village and keeps you updated if they choose to leave the site.
Our youth cafe helps to build up relationships between the young people and the adults within our community and between the young people and Thames Valley Police. Pitstone has seen instances of youth anti-social behaviour within our community reduce to almost zero since the cafe launched. The youth workers and PCSO Dodson have been able to help a number of young people in need of support.
Residents that may struggle to afford the entry fee should speak to the cafe manager in confidence.
Queries relating to the youth cafe should be directed to Dave Rollins, Cafe Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org or the parish clerk on email@example.com