Switch Youth Café is a venue ‘for young people, by young people’ providing a safe place to ‘hang out’, with support from staff for a range of issues. We aim to ‘Switch’ perceptions of young people.
We have games, pool table, free wifi, music group and more. We offer tasty, affordable food and drinks for young people to buy but most importantly we are here to provide them a place to come if they need help, advice and general support.
Our trained youth work staff support young people with a range of issues and can refer young people onto more specialised support if needed. We provide c-card access and sexual health advice, with our local sexual health nurse visiting at least once a month. We support young people to quit smoking and educate about responsible drinking with our Don’t Abuse the Booze project in the café, local schools and the community. We also provide work experience and help with job applications to give young people the best start.
Maidstone Youth Forum meetings are run and supported at the café, including their projects, InTheStone (a sign posting website for young people in Maidstone) and Switch on the Music (an annual youth event run by young people for young people). Our cafe also provides a venue for other support groups, such as Headroom, Safe and Street Pastors, as just some of the community projects we work with. Originally set up by young people in Maidstone Youth Forum, Switch has an active Youth Management Committee, which make decisions about how the café is run, following our ethos ‘By young people, For young people’