Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has thrown her support behind the campaign to keep open the Switch Youth Café in Maidstone High Street.
The Café, which opened in 2010, provides a friendly and safe environment for young people to attend, meet like-minded people and receive any support they may need from professionally trained youth workers. It is also a point of access for a range of services including mental and physical health services and support for substance misusers. The staff at the café make particular effort to provide for the harder to reach young people who are deprived of opportunity elsewhere.
The project has proved extremely popular and has received over 18,000 visits in the last year from almost 1,000 young people. However, it is now in real and immediate danger of having to close on Christmas Eve due to a lack of funding.
Helen at her office in Maidstone East Station meeting with Mark Chase (Manager at Switch Café), Marianne Webb (Trustee of Switch Café), Helen Grant MP, Shannon Travers Spencer, Rod Lucas and Mia Denyer (Users of the Switch Café)
Helen met with members of the Café's management team to brainstorm fundraising ideas. She also spoke with some of the young people who use the café on a regular basis to gauge a real understanding of the impact it has on their lives. The team are now in the process of putting together a plan to attract the required funding.
Mrs Grant said, 'The Switch Cafe provides a service like no other for the young people of Maidstone. It is not only a supportive environment where young people can go to relax, but also offers a 'one stop shop' for access to a broad range of critically important services. Following a productive first meeting, I will be supporting the café in any way to assist in finding the funding it needs.'
Marianne Webb, Trustee of the Café commented, 'Switch Cafe does society such a valuable service here in Maidstone with hands on support and motivation for our young people. We as a community simply cannot afford to see it close. It's such an encouragement that Helen is fully behind us in supporting our cause.'
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