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Village Food & Drink

A new heart of village life

Posted on January 19 2012 at 12:21:22 0 comments

Aunika Blake and Emily Yates with youngsters

Alvechurch’s ambitious community project, The Lounge, is celebrating a successful first year.

From its beginnings, when a group of mothers wanted to set up somewhere for their children to go in the evenings, it is now becoming a central part of village life.
The police have said the work The Lounge is doing has led to a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour reports to almost zero.

The venue, based in the shopping precinct, has also evolved and is becoming increasingly popular as a place to sit for a coffee and a chat and as somewhere to hire for meetings and other events.

One of the driving forces over the past year is Emily Yates, an Alvechurch villager who first started as a volunteer, before becoming a youth worker last April and then the project co-ordinator last July.

She told The Village: “It is really starting to take off now. It has taken a while for people in the community to realise that it’s there and how they can use it.

“What is nice is that the kids are starting to come in at the weekends and in the holidays when it is a café and not a youth session.

“They are starting to understand that The Lounge needs to be used for other things so that it can then be something for them.

“They are taking it to their hearts and would have it open all the time if they could.”

Emily says she has seen behaviour and attitudes changing among the young people of the area as they have got used to the idea of The Lounge and what it’s trying to achieve.

“Now we have got 16 to 18-year-olds coming in it has made a difference; they are not hanging around so much and they are starting to volunteer.

“The younger ones are finding it much more cool than the older ones and I think they will use it differently to the older ones and will not get into the habit of hanging around outside.”

The Lounge now has a part-time youth worker, Aunika Blake (pictured above left with Emily Yates and youngsters at the Youth Diner session), while Dawn Devereaux is running the café side of The Lounge.

Volunteers are helping out, too, including two who are helping to put together bids for funding. Emily says they are always looking for helpers and particularly need a “friendly accountant”  to take on some of the treasurer’s role.

The project has received substantial financial backing from Bromsgrove District Council and Alvechurch Parish Council and local organisations and individuals have also been generous in raising and donating money.

Among the groups using the venue are the NCT for antenatal classes, while on February 14 Alvechurch Library is holding a taster internet session for computer beginners from 10am-noon.

The aim for the next year is to find the money to increase the number of youth sessions from Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to include Mondays and even Sundays.

A newly elected Youth Committee is taking responsibility for making decisions about how the sessions are run, how to raise funds and what events they will hold throughout the year.

* Anyone who wants to help can contact Emily on 07919083715 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Youth Times:
Tues: 3.30-5pm (All Ages)
        5.30-7pm (11-12)
        7.30-9pm (13-15)
Wed:  7.30-9.30pm (16-18)
Thur:  5-7pm (11-12 years)
        7.30-9.30pm (13-15)

Café Times:
Mon: Closed
Tues: 9am-2pm
Wed: 9am-2pm
Thur: 9am-2pm
Fri: 9am-2pm
Sat: 9.30am-2.30pm
Sun: 10am-1pm

Booking Availability:
Mon: 9am-10pm
Wed: 3pm -6pm
Fri: 3pm-10pm
Sat: 3pm-10pm
Sun: 2pm-10pm

Cost:
£10 per hour (parish organisations) or £12 per hour
Refreshments on discussion


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