“It stands for redeeming our communities”, explains Emma Gaze, ROC Cafe Parrs Wood Project Leader as she shows me what is taking place in the Sixth Form common room. Every Friday night this term from 5 until 7pm the ROC café has been doing just that, with a mass of activities on offer to entertain 12-18 year olds. Thanks to funding from Greater Manchester Police and Ivy Manchester Church, entry is free and the youth club is well resourced. Volunteers range from sixth formers to teachers to charitable churchgoers, and the club is only set to get bigger and better.
Alex Fyfe, a Parrs Wood Sixth Form volunteer explained how it was great that the club gave kids “something to do” – it certainly does that, with everything a young person could hope for entertainment-wise. This was summed up by Spencer, a Parrs Wood student, who explained “I like it because there’s table tennis, also because there are two Xboxes so if one person’s playing on it they can’t hog it, the DJ’s pretty good and you can get loads of sweets.” For the more creative teen a wealth of craft materials are available along with intricate nail painting. And if the club’s famous monster hot chocolate fails to entice you then you’re clearly lactose intolerant.
The ROC charity aims to bring people together, evident at the club’s launch party, in which members of the Police, Fire Service and local councillors chatted with the young people around them. Sergeant Alison Clarke, who received a special mention for her efforts in setting up the club, had a heart-warming story to tell. “I was decorating cupcakes with a little girl one week, I was there in my police uniform and we were adding little flowers to these cakes, and she turned to me and said ‘you’re just like a normal person.’” This is just one example of how this project has helped to humanise authority figures. Seeing Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy dancing enthusiastically to ‘Forget You’ by Ceelo Green with a group of kids was an unforgettable experience. This thing doesn’t just redeem community, it positively defines it."
Josie Throup, Year 12
This Term the Roc Cafe will run every Friday from 4.30 to 6.30 and everyone is welcome from Year 7 to 13.