Youth café’s future secured for hundreds of users

April 27 2015

YATE’S youth café has been transferred to the town council after cuts threatened the future of the distinctive purple building.

Photo courtsey of RichMcD Photography

YATE’S youth café has been transferred to the town council after cuts threatened the future of the distinctive purple building.
Hundreds of youngsters use the Armadillo centre in Station Road, which opened nearly four years ago with support from both civic leaders and South Gloucestershire Council.
But South Gloucestershire could no longer afford to fund it due to the level of cuts it had to make, leading to a long period of negotiation between the two authorities.
Now Yate Town Council has taken over the building and staff, with South Gloucestershire making a large financial settlement that will help run the venue for the next few years.
Chris Willmore, who chairs the centre’s management committee, said: “I am delighted to announce that the Armadillo has transferred to Yate Town Council. This secures its future and is great news for the huge numbers of young people who use it regularly.
“I really want to thank the officers and councillors of Yate Town Council for all their work in making sure a deal was done that will mean the Armadillo continues.
“It is open six days a week, after school, in evenings and on Saturdays for young people to come and either chill or join in with whatever is going on.
“Hundreds of young people use it every week - not to mention the groups and businesses who hire it during the day and the people who choose it for their children’s birthday parties.”
Ms Willmore said the Armadillo had the support of businesses, charities and the police, had “significantly reduced issues of youth vandalism” and cut complaints about young people.
She said: “It’s really good news. The transfer has occurred and Yate Town Council now owns the entire building, South Gloucestershire has transferred its ownership and given us a dowry of £297,000 towards future costs, which is brilliant.”
It had taken 15 years of talking, planning, designing and construction, with input from many young people, to get the £1.5 million café operating in the summer of 2011, with Prince Edward officially opening it during a visit later that year.
As well as providing a venue for youngsters to meet up, play music, watch films and enjoy a coffee, it also runs a successful apprenticeship scheme to help local teenagers get work, earn a salary and gain a nationally recognised qualification.
Sophie Webber is among those to have benefited, joining the café as a business administration apprentice straight from sixth form.
The scheme has operated for more than three years and anyone interested can get information from the national apprenticeship scheme website.