A CAFE is opening its doors to young people in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Christine's Cafe on Front Street, Stanley, is welcoming young people aged 11-18 on Friday evenings.

Youngsters will be able to play pool and computer games, listen to music, eat and socialise with friends.

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The scheme is being backed by Stanley Police, which hopes it will give young people a central base and prevent disruptive behaviour in the evenings.

Sergeant Dave Clarke said: "Not all young people want to have structured entertainment so we hope this will appeal to people who find themselves with nothing better to do. We want the to have somewhere they enjoy going to."

Organisers also hope to provide courses to give young people the chance to achieve catering and steward qualifications so they can marshal live events like football matches and music concerts in the region.

The project has already won funding of ᆪ4,000 from Stanley Town Council and Durham County Council .

Sgt Clarke said: "They will be paid for their time and they will be able to go to some big gigs they may not otherwise be able to get tickets for. At the minute they are wandering around bored and the main issue of anti social behaviour and damge in Stanley is that young people have nothing to do. The devil makes work for idle hands."

Young people will have access to the facilities, so, as well as cooking their own food, they will also be able to organise events and design their own menus.

The cafe is currently run by Councillor Christine Bell, who is on Stanley Town Council, but it is hoped it will be taken over by a charity in future when she retires.

A consultation evening from 6pm-9pm is being held on Friday April 25 to determine what young people want from the cafe.

Sgt Clarke said: "It is being run by young people for young people so they can decide what they want. It is their cafe so they design it how they like.

"People may complain it is bringing young people into the town centre but we would rather know where they are, in a safe environment, rather than not."

The cafe will initially be open on Friday evenings, from May 9, from 6pm-9pm, but more nights during the week may follow if it is a success.