Hailsham Town Council's youth centres will gradually start to open their doors again from today [5 October], with the reopening of the Square Youth Cafe in the town centre.
Hailsham Youth Service, which provides activities, support services and opportunities for young people in the local area, had to close its centres and suspend all of its face to face activities in late March, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the COVID-19 and in liaison with Sussex Police, Hailsham Youth Service remobilised its detached provision in June to support young people support during the pandemic and continue to maintain a presence in Hailsham as lockdown was eased.
Furthermore, youth workers remained in contact with young people remotely since the start of the pandemic  through its social media pages, which enabled young people to stay updated, join in on discussions and keep in touch with the youth worker team - a service provision which has been welcomed by young people in Hailsham and parents alike.
However, it has proven to be extremely beneficial to be able to engage face-to-face once more and youth workers are pleased to announce the reopening of the Square Youth Cafe located in Market Square, from today.
"Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking closely at COVID-19 guidance from both the National Youth Agency and the Government for the reopening of our youth facilities, to  make sure we can make it the safest environment possible for young people and youth workers," said Andy Joyes, youth project coordinator at Hailsham Town Council.
"The Square will look and feel considerably different for those attending and there will be strict measures in place to ensure that the required social distancing and hygiene measures are practised at all times."
"Having said that, it will be very good for the youth worker team to see everyone again. We’ve missed them, and we will endeavour to provide as many fun activities as possible in the coming months whilst operating under these measures."
From Monday 5th October, to maximise the opportunity for young people to join them, the Square Youth Cafe will be running multiple sessions on weekday afternoons and evenings:
AFTERNOONS (3.15-4.45pm):  Monday and Tuesday - Year 7 / Thursday and Friday - Year 8
EVES (6.45-8.30pm): Monday - Year 9 / Tuesday - Year 10 / Wednesday - Year 11 / Thursday - Year 12
The most significant change from today in all Square Youth Cafe sessions is that only 12 young people will be allowed at the centre at one time. Young people attending must wear a face covering at all times.
Additionally, in order to attend a session (as with all Hailsham Youth Service activities for the foreseeable future), registration will need to be completed online on the Hailsham Youth Service website: Young people will not be allowed entry onto the premises without prior registration and will be granted entry on a first come first served basis.
Deputy youth project coordinator Helen Deane commented: "As per government guidelines, we will be observing social distancing measures inside the Square Youth Cafe building and limiting the number of people attending sessions. All staff and volunteers will be wearing face coverings to protect young people, and young people attending will be required to wear them too."
"We have hand-sanitising stations around the cafe and will be encouraging young people to wash their hands on a regular basis. In between sessions, our staff and volunteers will ensure that all fixtures and surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned and are ready to be used again safely."
The Monday Youth Hub, which offers sports and games at the James West Community Centre, is scheduled to be reinstated later this autumn, as will the recently formed Hellingly Youth Hub - based at the new village community hub in Hellingly - which will be opened in the coming weeks. Friday Night Project activity sessions are expected to be reintroduced early next year.
For further information on Hailsham Youth Service, email
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