Game on for cafe venture

A NEW games cafe will be launched in Wedmore later this month by two teenagers who secured over £18,000 to get their new venture started

A NEW games cafe will be launched in Wedmore later this month by two teenagers who secured over £18,000 to get their new venture started. Alex Cook, of Wedmore, and Paul Foster, of Blackford, both aged 18, are setting up the Wedmore eSports Cafe in the George Hotel in Church Street.Alex said: "It all started about three or four years ago when we set up Wedmore Games. We did it with support from IT for the Terrified, which was a similar group aimed at older people. We wanted something for the youth of the village, something that would get them off the street."Alex started going along to IT for the Terrified to help out. When he was 13 Alex started a sister club, Wedmore Games. He said: "Since then it has gone from strength to strength. The lady who started it all sadly passed away, but she passed on her vision."When Alex started running the group, on an almost full-time basis, he asked his friend Paul to help out.Paul said: "I'd helped Alex out before and I was starting to get more and more interested in how it was all run. We had a lot of members by this point so we decided to apply for grants."The group received £12,500 from Somerset Youth Opportunities and Youth Capital Fund, and a further £6,000 from IT for the Terrified. The group meets every Wednesday to play strategy and internet games on computers.A year's membership costs £6, and then £1.50 for every session. None members can go a long to a meeting for £2. They also go out on organised outings during the summer.Alex said: "It's got much bigger than we ever thought possible. We have to spend the money by the end of the financial year, so we've been busy buying new computers, consoles, keyboards, desks mouse mats, mice and games. We have also bought a licence to make and share films legally. We are also in the process of trying to commission a graffiti artist for a piece of artwork for the wall."The eSports Cafe group has become so big, that it has had to move to a bigger room at the George Hotel and is now in the process of setting up all the computers in time for the launch, which is hoped to be at the end of the month.Alex and Paul jointly manage the group, and Alex has enjoyed his voluntary work so much, he is considering a career as a youth worker.Alex added: "The group is my baby now. We've had our share of problems but we have got through them against all odds. I love seeing the kids get enthusiastic about the project. We are more like a youth club now and everyone has fun."Alex and Paul also plan to raise more funds for the group, and hope to organise a sponsored walk later in the year.For more details about the group call Alex on 01934 712419.

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