THE founder of Bewdley Youth Cafe says he 'would do anything' to stop the cafe from closing.

Town councillor Derek Killingworth, founder and chair of trustees for the Load Street cafe, said board members had applied for numerous grants, but have been unable to raise the £30,000 required to run the charity each year.

He told The Shuttle: “After more than 10 years running the cafe I am deeply saddened that we have been forced to close.

“It takes £30,000 a year to run the cafe and £10,000 of that is just for rent. We rely totally on donations and grants.

“We’ve spent two thirds of our time making applications to various organisations but you need a project - they won’t give you money for rent and bills.

“When schools can’t afford books and pens it gives you an idea of the state of matters. It’s the young people that suffer.”

Set up in 2005, Bewdley Youth Cafe opened before and after school hours for youngsters aged 11 to 18 and also ran sessions during the school holidays.

It previously provided a free breakfast, as well as access to a pool table, games consoles and air hockey, and was visited by around 20 youngsters each afternoon.

Cllr Killingworth said young people have been approaching him in the street begging for the cafe to stay open.

He added: “It’s so distressing. Young people need somewhere they can feel safe, meet their peers and chill out.

“There’s no where like it in Bewdley.

“I would do anything to save it but at this point we have tried everything.”

Worcestershire County Council said it has already begun discussions with partner organisations to explore alternative options for youth provision in Bewdley.

A spokesman said: "Worcestershire County Council has supported Bewdley Youth Cafe by funding a proportion of its overall costs every year since 2013 through the Positive Activities for Young People.

"It was recently confirmed that the current level of support from the County Council would continue for a further year until March 2020.

"Bewdley Youth Cafe's trustees, staff and volunteers have worked very hard over many years to secure funds from a range of sources every year to sustain their service to young people.

"The council has been fully informed that the charitable organisation is winding up and has already begun discussions with local partner organisations to explore other options for future youth provision in the town."