Youth cafe may open in six months


A TOWN centre youth café could be open in Warrington within the next few months.
Borough council leaders have agreed to consider spending up to £120,000 to refurbish a property in Time Square.
It is believed there may also be private sector contributions towards the cost of the project.
The café is a key requirement of young people who have been consulted by the council over a new strategy to deliver youth support services in Warrington..
Council leader Ian Marks (pictured) said: “A youth café is something young people very much want.
“They want it in the town centre close to the bus station. They want somewhere to ‘hang-out’ with their mates.”
The café would be the first stage of a major “Youth Zone” project.
Consultation with young people, including the town’s members of the Youth Parliament and IMPACT – Warrington’s Youth Council – has been going on for some time.
From this it has become clear young people want more activities, more places to socialise, youth facilities that are open on different days and times and access to services encompassing personal and social development, informal learning, leisure and recreation.
They would like it all accessible through a single point of contact – in the town centre.
Capital cost of the Youth Zone is expected to be £5-6 million, raised through private sector contributions with no expectation of a contribution from the council other than the offer of land. Revenue cost is put at close to £1 million, with the council contribution estimated at £350-400,000.
It is expected it will take 2-3 years to complete the Youth Zone, but if private sector capital is secured, the youth café could be open in March.


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. Surely the council (and everyone else) should be encouraging young people NOT to “hang out” rather than providing somewhere for them to do it – particularly somewhere in the town centre?

  2. I do hope the council has consulted with the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace – after all Warrington is fairly unique in operating a £3m Peace Centre for young people. I would suggest if they should follow the Big Society ideals (see Cabinet Office Green Paper being consulted upon) and devolve this activity to a civil society provider such as the Foundation who know what they are doing. This sounds like a real white elephant if they don’t get this right

  3. @Emanon your comment seems to infer that you think teenagers should not socialise, this is both a bizarre proposition and completely unfair. We do not live in Soviet Russia last time I checked, and if teens want to spend time with their mates who are you to stop them.

    If you want to spend time with friends or family of an evening, you go to a pub. Of course, young people do bog have this option, that is how they end up on the streets and parks. So providing a central location accessible by all is surely the best step forwards, and will solve many problems which arise purely from boredom.

    The problem with the peace centre is that people have to catch two buses to get there. As a result, it is only users by people in Sankey. A central location is therefore a cost effective and common sensical way forwards.

  4. I think it’s a great idea! As Daniel says, the Peace Centre is only reachable on 2 buses from the east of the town. If it is organised properly it will be an ideal place for young people to meet.

    Those who don’t have somewhere warm and dry to go are the ones who often start causing a nuisance and getting into trouble.

  5. So what we have to hope is that ALL the kids who currently don’t have anywhere to go or anywhere to meet up ALL hop on the bus and go to the one Time Square town centre youth club instead. Mmmm can’t see that happening somehow although the ones who are asking for it and who already frequent the town centre will obviously go.

    As for the peace centre I don’t know any teenagers from round here who have EVERY been to it… nothing to do with getting there as most parents would give them a lift there if they really wanted to go.

  6. The Council are trying to come up with a solution and if it does not work out for whatever reason, then at least they have tried, it is up to the youth of Warrington to prove that it is a worthwhile project. if you don’t have a go, you will never know!

  7. The Peace Centre hosts three charities which each provide services for young people of Warrington and further afield. Over the last 10 years the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace has worked with over 20,000 young people from across England including young people from every secondary school in Warrington and more recently with young people from Warrington aged 16+ who are disengaged from employment and education. Each of the three charities have to find their own funding and those services offered at the Centre could be extended if additional funding could be found to do so (and cheaper than building a new centre). In respect of young people travelling to a particular location, whether it is Town centre or not, some will have to travel further than others and surely any Council provision for young people, such as the one suggested, should take this into account and be linked with the transport strategy to allow equal access to services for all? For more information on what’s on at the Centre go to

  8. Reference ‘Warrington Youth Zone – Options Appraisal’ document. OPTION 6 covers and discusses and assesses the possibility of ‘ Additional Investment’ and ‘Enlargement’ of the current Peace Centre to create a bigger and more community used ‘Youth Zone’. The centre’s management team are said to be very keen to establish better links with the local authority and to focus more on delivery of services within the Borough itself, and also to utilise a degree of under-capacity that currently exists in the site.

  9. One question regarding this whole ‘Youth Zone’ (and indeed the Youth Cafe) ideas in the proposed ‘Time Square’ Town Centre location that I do have which I forgot to mention… is just how many young people were actually part of the the ‘consultation exercise’ that was carried out? As yet I can’t actually find the consultation documents, the questionnaire or the findings and many of the exec board minutes/documents relating to the proposals either wont open or access is denied… all I have found is a statement from Cllr Shiela Woodyatt (Conservative) where she states that……… “young people had been consulted and 54 per cent had said their ideal youth provision would be based in the town centre”………. so only HALF of the ‘ x ‘ number asked want it in town then !?!?!?! (where ‘ x ‘ could be 100, 500, 1000 or 10000 local kids !?) Arent statistics great 🙂 All gounds a grand idea though and if it does ever get built and is as good as they say it could be then I’d like to become a teenager again for a few months 🙂

  10. My name is Tom Jennings, I’m a member of the Youth Parliament and a member of the IMPACT group and I have a feeling I’m going to have to answer a tonne of questions xD

    @Emanon, I respect your right to an opinion, but I believe your opinion to frankly be disgusting and I’m glad others on this post, do not share the same thoughts.

    As for the Peace Centre, I volunteer there with Warrington Youth Club and have worked with the NSPCC and Foundation For Peace and the work those three charities do is a real credit to young people and Warrington. However, I agree that the one main problem it faces is accessibility.

    I live in Grappenhall and so for me to travel to the Peace Centre would mean getting two buses there and two buses back, all in all costing £6 per night. Young people just don’t have that kind of money and the majority won’t have the effort of waiting around for four buses.

    The Peace Centre, I personally believe would benefit from advertising a little more in places such as smaller Youth Clubs and schools as a lot of young people really don’t know what the Peace Centre is and what they can get involved in there.

    Now as for consultation, IMPACT has been campaigning for a Youth Cafe for two years, doing several surveys with thousands of young people. The Council themselves, also claim to have done a survey but I, myself am yet to see a copy of it.

    I think its brilliant that they have finally agreed to give us the Youth Cafe we’ve been campaigning for. IMPACT is currently in cohesion with the Youth Service on this project and despite there being a lot of unanswered questions and issues which don’t yet have a solution, I am confident the Youth Cafe will be a fantastic facility for Young people to enjoy.

    Could I also ask though, that people read this article I recently posted in the forum, only that I believe it needs more attention as this is happening right now:

  11. Tom you have just answered part of a question here that I have just asked on your forum topic ie about the Consultation and Surveys that were carried …..I too could find no reference to any Council led consultation being carried out so I suspect they must be using your findings and statistics relating to the need for a CAFE/Youth area and putting them forward as being that of the main £5 million Youth Zone idea which is part of the attempt to draw in private investors to enable the town centre’s regeneration project to materialise. Makes sense to me now 🙂 Thanks and like I say I have posted on the forum topic but thought I’d reply briefly here too.

  12. I note that my comments have been misinterpreted. There is, surely, a difference between “hanging out” and socialising. We all recognise the need for places for young people to meet. But they already exist – in far greater numbers than they did when I was a teenager. Youth clubs, cafes, leisure centres, sports clubs, etc, etc, some run by the council, some by churches, charities, private organisations, etc.

    But the town centre is populated by too many of the layabouts I would not wish my children to associate with. So this so-called “youth cafe” will attract the wrong type.

    And how does one define a “youth”? Will one be barred from the place when one reaches a certain age?

    Young people only get barred from ordinary cafes, etc when they behave badly. They are not excluded on age grounds!

  13. Emanon, when you talk about layabouts in the Town Centre. I hope you don’t mean the group of young people that hang around the skittles because WE have nowhere else to hang about and socialise.

    I say the word “WE” because I’m a member of that group of friends who spend their time in town generally sitting around the skittles and I can assure you, I am not a “layabout”…

    As for the rules of the Youth Cafe, as far as I’m aware that issue has not been looked at, but will be. There may be a possibility that once people reach a certain age, they are not allowed to attend. But that’s no different than young people being refused entry to night clubs. After all, the Youth Cafe is for the Youth, which mostly means the ages of 13 to 19.

    Hope that helps,

    Tom Jennings MYP

  14. I’m involved in running a Youth Cafe in a small town in North east Scotland and would say to Emanon that youth cafes are intended to be fully inclusive, and aone measure of their success is their ability to engage with young people who feel excluded from other opportunities to have somewhere to socialise. I am sure that cafes, as commercial businesses, would only wlecome young people if they are there to spend money. In any event how many are open in the evening and would welcom 50-60 young people who want to be able to choose their own music and play pool at an affordable cost? Youth clubs tend to be too structured and run by establishment organisations rather than partnerships where the young people drive the project with adult assistance. Youth cafe buildings are often not shared by other community groups aimed at different ages so young people have a sense of ownership – it should be ‘their’ space. If they wish young volunteers can be involved in a way which enhances their chance of employment even if they don’t have conventional school qualifications. The Princes Trust guidance for age range is 12 to 25. We are proud to be successful at attracting over 16’s, and they do appreciate having

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