A new project, aimed at giving young people in Sutton-In-Ashfield somewhere safe to go at the weekends while reducing anti social behaviour is set to open its doors for the first time on Saturday 25th October.
The Forge, a youth café, is the brainchild of the commanding officers of the Sutton-In Ashfield Salvation Army Corps (church) who have designed the project with the help of youth officers from the local council, the Police and other agencies.
Lieutenant Matthew Brown, who runs the corps with his wife, said: “Youth provision in this town is fantastic during the week, but there are very few programmes or activities over the weekend. “We noticed that young people were spending time hanging around local restaurants and cafes and often the Police were called out. It was clear to us we needed to try and create somewhere for them to go to help keep them safe and out of trouble.”
Lieutenant Brown worked closely with the Chief Inspector for Communities at the Police and youth officers from the council to come up with an idea that would complement the youth programmes run during the week and meet the specific needs of young people in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
As a result, The Salvation Army has funded the creation of The Forge, a weekend youth café for ages 13 to 19 run at the Sutton-In-Ashfield Corps. It is an informal, drop-in service where young people can socialise in a safe, relaxed environment geared specifically to the needs of their age group. The cafe will be equipped with a large screen, TVs and game consoles.
He added: “Importantly, our vision is that The Forge will become a place where we’ll be able to connect young people to any services they may find useful, therefore providing help to those who may need it. Above all it is a place for young people and will evolve depending on their needs. We believe The Forge has the potential to have a positive impact, particularly for vulnerable young people, in Sutton-In-Ashfield and the wider community - we can’t wait to open our doors.”
The local community is invited to a special event to officially open The Forge on Saturday from 3.30-4.30pm.