�20,000 Cash Boost For Soham Youth Cafe

A NEW initiative launched by the Cambridgeshire Criminal Justice Board (CCJB) will see thousands of pounds recovered from criminal activities invested in a new youth caf� for Soham. The CCJB announced this week that �20,000 recovered through the courts fr

A NEW initiative launched by the Cambridgeshire Criminal Justice Board (CCJB) will see thousands of pounds recovered from criminal activities invested in a new youth caf� for Soham.

The CCJB announced this week that �20,000 recovered through the courts from criminals will be spent on transforming part of the existing Viva Centre on Churchgate Street, into a thriving centre for local youth.

The idea for the new caf�, set to feature a range of advice services for young people as well as low cost activities such as DJ lessons and sport classes, was the brainchild of the Viva Community Group, which hopes the new caf� will help tackle rising anti-social behaviour in the area.

Dan Schumann, director of Viva Arts and Community Group, said: "We were thrilled to have been awarded the money, it is a real step forward for us and will help start a project that lots of people have been pushing for some time.


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"The main thrust of the project will be somewhere for young people to come and hang out after school, somewhere were they can relax in a safe environment, and ideally it will help tackle the rising problems with anti social behaviour we are seeing."

A total of 16 bids for a share of the grant money in Cambridgeshire were submitted to the CCJB earlier this year, with the winning four candidates announced this week.

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Before submitting its bid Viva carried out a consultation with hundreds of young people in Soham and found that more than 80 per cent of those questioned agreed that there needed to be more low cost opportunities for recreational activity outside school.

On the strength of its findings the group submitted a bid and, with help of the public who were asked by the CCJB to give their thoughts on the submissions, were awarded �20,000.

Tom Jefford, chairman of the CCJB, said: "Stripping criminals of their assets is critical to the fight against crime.

"I'm delighted this money will be used to fund such worthwhile projects and believe this is a really positive way to celebrate Inside Justice Week."

Discussions on how the new caf� will shape up will begin in earnest, with the project expected to get under way next year.

4946: Chairman of Soham Town Council Anne Tuite, with Shelly Evans (right) who is manager of the Viva shop; and Dan Schumann.

Photo: HELEN DRAKE

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