Youth bar faces a cash shortage

Howard Connell, Prject Manager, pictured with volunteers and youngsters who use the Shakers Youth Cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2280MC
Howard Connell, Prject Manager, pictured with volunteers and youngsters who use the Shakers Youth Cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2280MC

a YOUTH cafe which keeps hundreds of youngsters off street corners is set to close because of a cash crisis.

Shakers bar is facing uncertainty after a £500,000 Lottery bid to secure its long-term future was rejected.

Now the club which attracts around 300 youngsters a week from Askern and its surrounding villages will have to close after a year unless it manages to secure £20,000 to keep it going in the short-term.

The “bar with no alcohol” is the only one of its kind in Doncaster and provides a place where children can relax and hang out with friends.

Howard Connell, project manager, said: “We’ll have to survive for the time-being by cutting back on things such as electricity and heating.

“We should be able to keep going just for two or three months, but it’s going to be difficult and we’ve had to all become unemployed as a result. We’re running on volunteers.

“We’re getting 90 to 100 children in here each night we’re open. Where do they go if this closes?

“They will be devastated if it closes, we’ve told them that we’re in trouble and they’re trying to do everything they can like organise fundraising events such as car washes and bag packing.They need this place to stay open.”

Shakers was originally set up by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust - set up to breathe new life into the borough’s former mining communities - through European cash.

It was due to open three years ago but delays in building work meant the custom built base in Askern High Street only opened its doors last spring.

As well as a juice bar the centre offers televisions, game consoles, a jukebox and scores of activities for 11 to 18-year-olds.

Keira Ensell-Brennan, 11, of Lowlands Walk, Askern, has been going to Shakers since March and said she had made lots of friends.

She added: “It’s really good. I get to hang out with my friends and there’s a dance space and lots to do.”

As well as catering for youngsters the centre provided classrooms for Campsmount Technology College when the school was destroyed in an accidental blaze in December 2009.

The building is also used by several groups for community events such as fitness classes.

Mr Connell would like to hear from businesses who could help contribute the £20,000 which would pay for the building’s running costs and from groups which could use the site when the youngsters are not.

Visit www.shakerscafe.co.uk