A new youth-led after-school hub for young people aged 11 to 18 has opened in Honiton.

The Den Honiton C.I.C hosted an open day on Wednesday (June 5) where organisers officially opened the space and Honiton Town Crier Dave Retter performed a ‘cry’.

The Den is a youth cafe with young people themselves taking on responsibility for all aspects of the running of the space. 

As well as giving them a safe place to go after school, The Den is designed to boost young people’s skills set and give them opportunities to get references to help their prospects for work. The voluntary work can also contribute towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

It is hoped that with more supervising volunteers, The Den can open five days a week and for more hours in the future.

The Den will be open every Wednesday and Friday from 3pm to 6pm. The sessions will be supervised by adult volunteers, but run by the young people.

The Den has also held fundraisers, including a table top sale, car wash, and quiz night to raise funds to support the operation of the space.

The Den is co-founded by Lauren Passmore-Smart, Serena Sexton and Lucy Wakefield, all of whom are town councillors, and has been supported by a number of organisations, including Honiton Town Council, East Devon Dance Academy, Combe Raleigh Parish Church, and Axe Vale Show.

Co-founder of The Den, Lauren Passmore-Smart, said: “It was almost exactly a year ago that the idea for The Den came together, so to see the doors officially opened is hugely exciting and rewarding for us.

“We really want this to be a space driven by the young people themselves, a place to try out their ideas and learn new skills, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone through the doors.”

Lucy Wakefield said: “We’re hugely grateful to the local community and local businesses for all the support we have received so far. We are always looking for more volunteers and would welcome any offers of support to help The Den reach as many young people as possible.” If you are interested in supporting The Den, please contact thedenhoniton@gmail.com.