Over the past 18 months, Wilmslow High School students have been working with Wilmslow Youth to redesign and refurbish the old scout hall and office space beneath Wilmslow United Reformed on Chapel Lane.
Walls and old pillars have been taken down, floors, ceilings and windows have been replaced and damp has been removed. The area has then been rebuilt to create a brand new modern youth Café, complete with a new kitchen and breakout rooms for counselling and small groups.
The Undercroft is a community space designed to benefit the whole community. All sorts of groups will be able to use it, but initially the main user will be Wilmslow Youth, who are opening it as a drop-in 'ROC Café' for 11 to 18 year olds.
With the work almost complete they hosted a celebratory launch on Friday, 24th November.
The youth café will be staffed by youth workers, Matt Williamson and Gemma Tuson, working alongside a team of volunteers from the churches and local community.
Initially, the ROC Café will open three times a week during term from 3pm to 5pm on Wednesdays and Fridays and again from 7pm to 9pm on Fridays. They aim to gradually increase the opening times and eventually open every day after school, and several evenings a week.
Youth worker Matt Williamson said "We're so excited to finally be able to open the doors of the Undercroft to local young people. Many people from the local community, including the young people themselves, have been a part of bringing this renovation project to life, and we know that they will benefit hugely from having this resource available to them. We would love to invite everyone to come down, sample the hot chocolate, and have a look around!"
Assistant Headteacher, Mark Vincent commented, "The development of this space into a modern, multi-use environment where young people can relax, socialise and access support is a great new addition for the local community.
"I'm delighted that our Student Council members were invited to input into the design and take an active role in shaping what is now a remarkable transformation. Well done and thank you to the many volunteers from the United Reformed Church and Wilmslow Youth who have invested so much time and money to realise this vision".
The ROC Café will offer an assortment of hot and cold snacks and drinks. There will also be art activities, games consoles, an internet cafe, table tennis and lots of comfy spaces for young people to come and hang out.
Matt added "Young people can come at any time, and either drop in for a few minutes, or stay for the whole session. There will also be support available for young people who need someone to talk to, and volunteer 6th formers from the school will be there to help any young people who choose to do some homework in the café after school."