Lawrence Glyn, who is the cafe manager for the Wednesday youth nights shares some insights:
Three months running the TLC café during Youth night at CATCH has been so worthwhile.
It took a few sessions for me to work out what to do!! Anita is always here with me and together we make a great team. We do often rely on a small number of adult volunteers to help run the café and they all get something very different compared to the daytime TLC café that we all know and love.
And how is that? Well, there’s a special atmosphere in the day café – mostly adults, some local residents of differing faiths and cultures, mums popping in with their little ones, a small group taking time off from the allotment, a group of students engaged in an ESOL class and others who have heard that they will be warmly welcomed into the fold.
On a Wednesday night it has generally been busy – 30 or 40 young people ranging from 8-20 years old. There have been times when it has been just me, supported so ably by some of CATCH’s young leaders but also by a handful of younger people who come to the Youth night. They are slowly learning how I operate and I am slowly learning what makes them tick.
On the surface, my job on a youth night is to engage these young people in understanding more about food and waste through our cafe experience – but I am told that I am really teaching them about being good human beings.
As someone willing to engage with youth and work with them, I lead by example. I am totally in my comfort zone with young people and I make myself available to talk if they want a word. I wash up, I clean, I serve people happily.
I am slowly teaching the young people that all food has a value, regardless of whether we sell it for pennies or a smile, some tidying and some manners. Most of the young boys and girls who come each night, expect to pay in some way – and some are desperate to be as helpful as they can be – some have become proficient at washing up and love it, others may even go on to do a Food Hygiene course in time.
I am always amazed how Ash, the Founder of CATCH, has brought together such a group of young leaders, male and female, who are willing to offer their time to help make CATCH a great place to spend time. Ash wants his youth centre to be the very best and is always looking for ways to achieve that. I’d like to think that together with my help, I can help Ash achieve that goal – if we all give our best towards a common goal, we stand a pretty good chance of getting there.