Off The Bench open community cafe

A community group opened a new cafe and youth centre in Lincoln’s Abbey Ward.

With funding from the Home Office and the Community Against Crime: Innovation Fund, Off The Bench managed to transform a unit on Monks Road into a place for youths to hang out and relax.

In addition to the cafe, a one-to-one area will allow youths to speak to an advisor on a variety or issues and seek guidance.

Staff will also help look at options within training, apprenticeships, education and employment, and advise them on how to enhance their CV.

Young people will also be encouraged to become involved in community projects through volunteering.

For the first two weeks, the facility will be open from 8am until 4pm, and opening on Thursday and Friday evenings between 6pm and 9pm as an open access youth facility.

Afterwards, the cafe will serve coffee and milkshakes and be open from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week.

The development is in partnership with Lincoln College, Lincoln City Council, Lincolnshire County Council, StreetGames, Lincolnshire Police and several other key agencies.

Inspector Patrick Coates of the Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This is a very exciting development for young people in Abbey Ward.

“The police welcome and fully support anything that will give activities for young people to do.

“This facility will be fantastic for young people and the Police look forward to working with Off The Bench in the development and running of the facility.”

Steve Walker, Careers Guidance Service Manager at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Careers Lincolnshire is pleased to provide their support, through partnership, to Off the Bench and their new initiative to enhance the support offered to unemployed young people in the Lincoln area in accessing support services and opportunities for employment and training.”