The Snak Shak is a drop-in café where young people from the Manhood Peninsula, Selsey can drop in on a Monday or Tuesday evenings to play table football, watch music TV, buy cheap refreshments and generally relax with their friends in a safe and warm environment. Snak Shak appeals more to ‘disaffected’ young people who aren’t joiners of other clubs. There are very few rules at Snak Shak but respect is key. “We don’t allow swearing or strong language,” says organiser Margaret Smith. “The young people must respect each other, first and foremost, but also the building and the furniture.” The facilities and furnishings at the Snak Shak are kept clean, comfortable, welcoming and in good working order – nothing is broken or shabby. “How can we ask the young people to respect it, if its not?” continues Margaret. Organisers have faced some challenging behavior in the past and have had to exclude some people from coming for a week or two. “They really don’t like that as they really do want to be here and we have had apologies from the roughest kids!”
Since the recent demise of many youth services across Sussex, the work done by this kind of project is even more vital and groups working in the area have come together to develop a Selsey Youth Network, with Snak Shak playing a key role.“We’ve had to reshape ourselves to reflect the changes that have taken place,” says co-founder Marjorie Graham. Sussex Community Foundation has recently funded a youth worker, Kylee Scott, who will be developing services at Snak Shak. Kylee is pictured here, with (left to right) Snak Shak founder members Marjorie Graham, Gerry and Margaret Smith.