The Trustees of the Towcester Youth Coffee House are in the process of raising £150,000 to renovate, remodel and expand TYCH’s building to provide a safe, secure environment for disadvantaged young people in the town to meet and participate in activities designed to improve social inclusion and reduce the instance of anti-social behaviour that has increased by 3.2% while TYCH has been closed.
TYCH was set up in 1995 following the donation of the current building on the condition that it was always to provide a place of safety and activity for the youth of Towcester. It is run on a voluntary basis and has always been self-funding. However the building has become too small, accommodating only 20 people, lacks critical disabled facilities and badly needs restoration work which has all lead to its temporary closure.
At the same time Towcester and the surrounding South Northamptonshire District has seen significant population growth, 11% between 2001 and 2011. It is also part of Government led growth plans and has approved planning permission for a further 3,000 homes that will increase the population of the town by approximately double.
Despite the relative affluence of South Northamptonshire there are stubborn pockets of deprivation and social exclusion, particularly within Towcester itself. TYCH is located strategically close to the largest area of social housing and a primary school where, according to figures from data.gov.uk, nearly 20% of the children are eligible for the receipt of free school meals.
This relative affluence has worked against Towcester in terms of a lack of focus and money from Children and Young People’s services at a County level, which has put additional pressure on voluntary organisations to provide Youth facilities. Also, there are no other voluntary organisations focused on young people in the town, with the exception of a church group that meets once a week.
Extension and renovation of the building will enable the charity to treble the number of young people who can use the facility, provide more recreational facilities and a space that can be used for separate events, not only by TYCH but also other organisations in Towcester.
The charity has the support of the local, South Northamptonshire Council, and directly supports a number of the Council’s key children and young people’s priorities. The previous two council chairmen have made TYCH one of their designated charities. Members of the local community have donated money and services to enable professional architectural plans to be drawn up, a new website to be developed and more professional awareness campaigns to be developed. Critically, a number of former users of TYCH have volunteered their services at the current time.
With new investment we will increase access for young people by delivering a larger facility with more diverse facilities. Consequently the Trustees are looking to reduce the reported levels of anti-social behaviour In Towcester by 3.5% within two years, improve the perception of the population about the availability of activities for young people by over 5%, build bridges and understanding between young people and the elderly and ensure that all young people in Towcester get the opportunity to build their social and inter-personal skills to their, and the Community’s future benefit.