The Caves youth centre on Upper Mansell Street in St Peter Port

January 31st, 2014 by Richard Lord

Matthew Sawbridge, The Caves Youth Centre Manager, spoke to Sustainable Guernsey about plans for the youth centre on Upper Mansell Street, Trinity Square in St Peter Port.

The Caves on Upper Mansell Street next to Trinity Square in St Peter Port (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Caves on Upper Mansell Street next to Trinity Square in St Peter Port (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The Caves, which uses the former ‘The Caves du Bordeaux’ premises, has been set-up by Guernsey Youth, which is an independent charity headed by Wayne Bulpitt.

Matthew Sawbridge, who has a three year contract funded by the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the Channel Islands, is reaching out to every secondary school on the island, the Guernsey College of Further Education, and two sixth form centres to let young people know about The Caves.

“The Caves will cater for people aged 11 to 24 years old, and has a maximum capacity of 70 people upstairs, and up to 40 on the ground floor.”

“The ground floor has been set-up primarily as a youth café.”

“Unemployed sixteen to eighteen year olds can come here and run the café,” he said.

“They can take over the operation of the café as a commercial enterprise for a week or two. During that time they will need to work out their hours of operation, promote the café to their clients, determine what they wish to sell, and calculate what profit margins they wish to make,” he said.

“The operation of the café will be up to them.”

“At the end of their stint as café operators, their running of the enterprise will be evaluated by me, and perhaps the director of The Caves, and other peers as well.”

Matthew Sawbridge, The Caves Youth Centre Manager, standing behind the café counter (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Matthew Sawbridge, The Caves Youth Centre Manager, standing behind the café counter (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“As well as this programme, on Tuesday mornings in partnership with Interwork Services, The Caves hopes to run the café with young people that may have learning difficulties or may be autistic or have Asperger’s for example. They will run the café in two hour shifts on a voluntary basis to provide some work experience and help them build confidence.”

“They will get training on using the Lavazza coffee machine, which is used in most cafés and hotels on the island, and on food hygiene to help them get employment,” Mr Sawbridge said.

“The Caves has a three year plan, which calls for six weeks of pop-up cafés by the end of year one, and 15 weeks of pop-up cafés by the end of year two, and we’ll keep expanding that programme.”

“Lots of organisations run pop-up cafés such as Action for Children. We would like to get the College of Further Education and Les Voies School involved as well.”

The Caves ground floor caféarea (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Caves ground floor café area (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“The Caves will open for youth clubs hopefully by mid to late February 2014. At the moment we plan to open for the general public on Saturdays only from midday to 5 p.m. but anyone can use the café.

However it is a youth café, so the young people using the facility will be able to decide what they want to do.”

“The ground floor is a relaxed, comfortable, warm, and vibrant place for young people to come in after school or during youth club. They can chill out, watch a film, play on a computer, or do homework.”

Young people can visit The Caves for a chat, and if they want an in-depth conversation we will listen, but if they don’t want to chat to us, we will suggest somewhere more appropriate such as Young People Guernsey‘s The Hub or Action for Children.

Computer terminals with Internet access at The Caves on Upper Mansell Street in St Peter Port (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Computer terminals with Internet access at The Caves on Upper Mansell Street in St Peter Port (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“We hope to get as many young people’s programmes run from here as possible.”

“Every use of the premises needs to be booked through me,” Mr Sawbridge said.

“At the moment events are being booked via email. The event is placed on a calendar, which eventually will be placed on-line so everyone will know when the space is booked or available for use.”

“As The Caves gets more clubs using the facility and more volunteers, we will be able to develop more programmes and more activities.”

The Caves upstairs room which will have a pool table, a ping pong table and other entertainment facilities (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Caves upstairs room where the boxing and anger management programme will be run. The Caves will have a pool table, a ping pong table and other entertainment facilities (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The Caves is going to run a number of programmes, including a boxing programme that integrates anger management. This will start as soon as the upstairs rooms are completed hopefully by mid-February 2014.

“The boxing and anger management programme, which is referral based only, will work with young people that may have been expelled from school or who may be on the verge of getting expelled from school.”

“The programme will focus on how to deal with stress, and talk about strategies to deal with anger. Boxing will help them release the anger and tension they may have.”

Also, The Caves will run a programme called ‘You Always Have Other Options’ (YAHOO), which is an initiative set-up by Youth Justice working with Action for Children, and the Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

This programme will create an environment for young people to be aware of what else they can do other than use alcohol or drugs. During the six week programme participants will get exposure to lots of activities such as Jujutsu and boxing, a street dance night, and a breakdance night. The programme will make them aware of all the youth clubs there are, and suggest lots of different things they can do to help them avoid the misuse of alcohol and drugs.”

Matthew Sawbridge, The Caves youth centre manager (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Matthew Sawbridge, The Caves youth centre manager (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

“We want to provide after-school clubs and fitness programmes. At the moment we have a fitness programme after school on Wednesday and on Saturday morning, and we have four youth clubs running during the week.”

Young people can visit and get involved in lots of activities. We hope to have live music events. We have a CD and vinyl mixer deck, and we are going to have a pool table, a table tennis table, an Andy Prialux GamePod racing chair, which has been donated, and the Guilles-Alles library is donating 200 of the best selling young people’s books for The Caves bookshelves.

Matthew Sawbridge can be contacted at The Caves, Upper Mansell Street, Trinity Square, St Peter Port GY1 1LY by email: [email protected] or by telephone on 07781 124299

 

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