Cafe culture is a big hit

PUBLISHED: 07:16 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 May 2010

SIX months after Barcode Youth Cafe opened in Weston those who supported its launch are celebrating its spectacular success. The under 18s venue in South Parade was one of the first of its kind in the country and has received interest from the Government

SIX months after Barcode Youth Cafe opened in Weston those who supported its launch are celebrating its spectacular success.The under 18s venue in South Parade was one of the first of its kind in the country and has received interest from the Government as well as other councils which are looking to copy the project.It was campaigned for by Weston Youth Council and the town council to provide a safe place young people could adopt as their base in town.The number of youngsters using the venue has risen to about 2,180 a month and the venue's average weekly income is £900.Open during the evenings and weekends, the number of events held at Barcode has grown. Regular events include Totally Metal Thursdays, a free weekly event developed as a direct request from the youngsters, and Phat Fridays, a disco that attracts over 200 people. Karaoke nights are held on Wednesdays and a competition will run during June with prizes.Barcode is also used during the day by groups such as young teenage parents and is becoming a top venue to book out for birthday parties.Scores of businesses and community groups around the town have supported the cafe with sponsorship and donations in kind.Town council leader Robert Payne said: "The provision of Barcode is the biggest of several projects we have introduced aimed at younger members of the community. Apart from the fact the youngsters enjoy using the cafe, I think it is good for them socially, and provides a safe alternative to their participating in less sociable activities."I am delighted with its growing success. On Fridays and Saturdays in particular, there are regularly now a couple of hundred young people and it is nearly filled to capacity."The venue now has its own website at www.myspace.com/barcodeyouthcafe which is already proving popular among young people.The management board is looking for any youngsters who would like to join the events team and help come up with new ideas. Anyone who would like to volunteer can call 01934 632567.

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