Teen shop cash crisis

PUBLISHED: 17:51 22 May 2009 | UPDATED: 07:15 30 May 2010

By Nick Thompson A COMMUNITY coffee shop run by teenagers for people to meet friends and surf the internet could be thwarted by a £12,000 cash shortfall. The juiceproject.com, a social enterprise aimed at bringing together all corners of the community,

By Nick Thompson

A COMMUNITY coffee shop run by teenagers for people to meet friends and surf the internet could be thwarted by a £12,000 cash shortfall.

The juiceproject.com, a social enterprise aimed at bringing together all corners of the community, has already won two funding grants and the backing of local MP Sir Alan Haselhurst.

Project director Katy Patrick, 48, is working with a group of teenage volunteers in applying for planning permission to convert the old Woodside Kitchens building in Market Place, Dunmow.

She said: "The last crucial amount of money to be found is for the rent deposit of around £12,000. Directors are working hard to find a local benefactor who may be prepared to lend their support in the first few years."

The group have approached Dunmow Town Council for cash but are likely to be met with a negative response due to financial constraints.

Essex County Council's Community Initiatives Youth Fund is already providing £25,000 and £10,000 has been received from the National Lottery awards for all programme.

"These grants will pay for the refitting and purchase of equipment and furniture," said Mrs Patrick. "The organisation intends to pay its own way once it is operating fully."

A planning application and public consultation will take up to 12 weeks to complete. There is also an added complication that the building is Grade II Listed.

Mrs Patrick added: "We would love to be open by August but it really will depend on how long the planners need. Meanwhile, we will be beavering away to get everything else in place."

An extensive survey of young people in Dunmow, carried out last Spring, revealed that they wanted more choice in places where they could meet up with friends in town, more job and training opportunities, and a view that young people are part of the whole community.

Since then, the volunteers have been working to turn these wishes into something real.

Katie Marshall, 17, a volunteer on the project management committee, said: "We will have somewhere new to meet up with friends in the town centre. And it's great that there will be jobs for people who need some help to get into employment.

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