Sidmouth to get youth cafe thanks big-hearted Melanie

PUBLISHED: 16:23 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 June 2010

A WOMAN with a big heart is to open a youth café in Sidmouth town centre. Deciding the town needs another youth facility, Melanie Le Roux of Manstone Avenue, is taking on the lease of the old Sidmouth sorting office and plans to open The Rock Café by M

A WOMAN with a big heart is to open a youth café in Sidmouth town centre.

Deciding the town needs another youth facility, Melanie Le Roux of Manstone Avenue, is taking on the lease of the old Sidmouth sorting office and plans to open The Rock Café by March.

It will open from 12 noon to 8pm Monday to Friday and organised events will then run from 8pm to 10pm including Saturdays.

Although her efforts coincide with work being done by Dan Gigg and Sidmouth Youth Initiative to open a youth café on the seafront, Melanie, who hails from South Africa, believes there are plenty of young people in the area to use both as well as Manstone Youth Centre.

What will be different about The Rock Café is Melanie won't turn away older people who want to pop in for a soft drink and chat during the day.

"The target age group is 13-18 but if a family has been to the cinema they are welcome to come in for a milkshake," she said.

"Or if an elderly lady is at the bus stop outside she is more than welcome to come in for a cup of tea."

Melanie, who husband Steven is backing the project, used to have open house for her three children's friends when the family lived in Welkom, Freestate, before moving to Sidmouth five years ago.

"We have found it more difficult here. Homes are so small and the children are always hanging on the streets. It is not the way we are used to things," said Melanie, whose children are Tyram, 16, Jalene, 13 and Calvin, nine.

Having got involved with youth cricket coaching and helping Ian Rush, youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Melanie quit her job to concentrate on opening her youth café, and is about to sign the lease on the ground floor premises near Radway Cinema.

"I stopped working in July to work on getting this off the ground. I can't think of a better gift than this to steer my kids in the right way."

As well as having tables, chairs and sofas for people to sit and have a soft drink or sandwich, there will be a pool table ("hopefully two"), terminals for laptops, music and hopefully games machines such as car racing and pinball.

"The idea of the café is to be a base where everyone can work together and help these kids. I want it to be a home."

She has applied for a town council grant and hopes people will be able to offer furniture and other items to offset the cost of opening; including offering to help decorate the place before it opens.

"I don't want anyone else to take the gamble with me. I hope to have a committee who has their say, and only me having the risk," she said.

*Anyone able to offer help in any way should call Melanie on 07832247701.

End


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