A new club has been launched to address the issues of rural isolation for young people in Suffolk.

Church volunteers are organising the club to tackle problems faced by young teenagers and to offer socialisation and friendship in a safe environment.

The Rural Youth Cafe @ Hoxne Pavilion, near Diss, was formed by the benefice of Athelington, Denham, Horham, Hoxne, Redlingfield, Syleham and Wingfield.

Known as the Hoxne benefice, the churches wanted to expand their activities within the community.

They already run a carers and toddlers group, Little Lambs; a monthly Messy Church (which is
coming up to its 10th anniversary); and events in school holidays for 7-12 year olds, known as Club Create.

However, the benefice realised there was a gap in provision for young people aged 12-16.

East Anglian Daily Times: Table football has proved very popular at the youth clubTable football has proved very popular at the youth club (Image: Keith Mindham)

Now the rural youth club, which started in January, is meeting monthly for two hours on a Friday evening where food, table football, pool, board games and creative activities are organised.

The young people can also bring their own activity to share and enjoy and they are looking forward to longer and warmer evenings to enable them to use the playing field outside the pavilion. Future initiatives include the provision of musical activities.

East Anglian Daily Times: The youth club is going wellThe youth club is going well (Image: Keith Mindham)
The Cafe is run by a part-time Youth Leader, Clive Mobbs, with volunteers from the Hoxne benefice.  

Initial planning and purchase of equipment was funded by a grant of £3,000 from the Suffolk Community Foundation Centenary, and now further grants are being sought.

Revd Canon Eleanor Goodison, priest in charge of the benefice, said: ‘‘We believe the cafe offers a safe space for young people to come together and relax, in a very rural area of Suffolk where there are relatively few opportunities for teenagers.

‘‘As a benefice, we want to support children and families. Our parish spotlights identify both lone parents and child poverty as issues and we aim to make a contribution in these areas.

‘‘Experience with our other projects shows that they help to alleviate rural isolation and bring both adults and children together for mutual support.’’

Although the youth club is still in its infancy it has already found favour with young people. 

Rory, one of the members, said: "It is great to have something to look forward to at the end of the week."