The property in which we reside was originally the first bank in Onchan, namely The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, which opened in 1914. The bank moved to another property situated at the top of Royal Avenue in 1935 and later merged their operation with Barclays Bank PLC as it is known today.
Frank Turner now occupied the property as a retail outlet and then later occupied by ‘Kenyon the butcher’ as a butcher's shop named Kenyon’s.
Peter Karran MHK identified the need for a dedicated facility for the young people of the village. Mr Karran privately funded the purchase of the building, and enlisted the assistance of friends to transform the interior to a comfortable environment for young people.
The now named Kenyon's Café opened its doors as a drop-in centre for young people of Onchan in February 2001 to provide young people aged 11- 18 somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. Originally staffed by volunteers from the community and later passed on staffing responsibility to the Department of Education and Children's Youth Service.
Onchan District Commissioners purchased the building from Mr Karran in 2005 after identifying the positive outcome that Kenyon's was imposing upon the young people of Onchan. Mr Karran sold the property for below the market rate on the understanding that they would safeguard the facility for the young people of Onchan, and as such they issued the charity a seven year lease for a peppercorn rate in order to continue operating.
Onchan District Commissioners confirmed to the charity that their Board has resolved to dispose of the property as part of a complete review of their commercial properties.
Following the announcement, young people who attend the drop-in sessions wrote to the Commissioners to express their disagreement over the proposed sale of the property and invited the Commissioners to a meeting at one of their sessions where the Commissioners confirmed that the decision to dispose of the property will not be reverted and the only way forward for the project to remain in its current form is for the charity to raise the funds and purchase the freehold of the property.
The charity is now seeking independence and plans to purchase the freehold of Kenyon's Café which would put us in a stronger position for the future and be able continue our work with young people in the community. Should this not be possible due to financial constraints, we would seek a suitable alternative for either rental or freehold.