Gazette comment: Cafe takeover shows youth
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 September 2017
When I was growing up, I went to youth club to play football, have a go at table tennis and spend my pennies at the tuck shop.
So my mind was blown when I went to NuDawn cafe in Well Street on Friday and found kids from the Morningside and Gascoyne Estate clubs running the show.
They were not only behind the counter, they were preparing food and drink, carrying out a very insistent PR campaign to get people inside and, I later learnt, responsible for balancing the books.
It was only for two days, but it highlights the great work being done by them and the management of the youth clubs, who perform such an important role in the childrens’ upbringing.
Crippling government cuts have in a lot of cases left the youngsters with nowhere to go, and with council budgets stretched beyond belief, services are not what they were.
So it’s reassuring to see the community spirit like the kind on display in Well Street, one of Hackney’s oldest market streets.
The market may be enjoying something of a renaissance, but unless the young people from within the area are given the tools to succeed themselves, it’s papering over the cracks.
Everyone was out to show some support for the project, and Kevin Jones of NuDawn was brilliant in allowing the kids to use his cafe.
But as well as teaching them important businesd skills, the project was raising money for the youth clubs – money they badly need.
When Nicolette Nixon, who runs Morningside, told me they had to pay £22,000 rent a year for use of the community centre, I was shocked. So it was reassuring to hear MP Meg Hillier talk about her intentions to campaign for cheaper rents for clubs like theirs. Without them Hackney would be a lot worse off.