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Cyber cafe in lottery windfall

A PROJECT to keep bored youngsters entertained has secured a National Lottery grant of almost £400,000.

A PROJECT to keep bored youngsters entertained has secured a National Lottery grant of almost £400,000.

Middlewich's Microchips project to create a cyber cafe and youth lounge is about ready to go online to double facilities available for youngsters in the town.

The ambitious project has seen volunteers and church workers from Middlewich Christian Centre convert a former bus depot on Wheelock Street into an Internet cafe.

And now £380,000 worth of Lottery funding to operate the centre for at least three years has been won, the project is to advertise for eight more members of staff.

Pastor David Moore, who set up the project, said: 'The Lottery grant funding is very good news. It means we have funding in place to operate the cyber cafe for three years.

'The grant is basically £13,400 for IT training and £60,000 for equipment.

'Then £300,000 is to pay wages and running costs for eight members of staff.

'We will be advertising for staff soon and hopefully we will be in a position to begin interviews in January.

'We want a full-time centre manager, a full-time IT advisor, two part-time IT workers, two youth workers, a cleaner and an administrator.'

Microchips has been turned down for a lottery grant twice before, but this time volunteers drew on past experiences to steer the application past any potential hurdles.

The cash comes on top of more than £300,000 which has been spent already, provided by Middlewich Christian Centre, local businesses and agencies including Congleton Borough Council, English Heritage Scheme and the Tudor Trust.

When complete, sometime before Easter next year, it will boast a cafe, run by a separate business, Microchips Ltd, with about 20 computers all with Internet access, a youth lounge with recreational facilities including satellite TV and games machines, and a youth advice centre where youngsters will be able to get advice and help with all manner of skills, including gaining job interviews and writing their own CVs.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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