A BOLTON church is opening a night-time cafe in the town centre to provide a safe haven for young people.

Bank Street Unitarian Chapel and the group, Christians Together in Bolton, hope they can help young people who are out at pubs and clubs in Bolton by giving them a friendly and convenient place to go at the end of the night.

The cafe will act as a waiting point for lifts home, as well as offering non-alcoholic drinks, toilets and help with booking taxis.

It is the idea of Stephen Lingwood, who will become Bank Street Chapel's new minister in September.

He was inspired by a similar project in Manchester and believes the cafe could help make Bolton a safer place at night.

Mr Lingwood, aged 25, said: "It will be a place to order a taxi, have a coffee and wind down at the end of the night.

"And sometimes there's a need for people who have had too much to drink to just sober up in a safe environment.

"This isn't about condemning people who go out and have a good time on a Saturday night.

"I love to go out to bars and clubs myself, though I try not to when I'm preaching in the morning.

"We want to work with the council and the police to make sure that Bolton town centre is a safe place at night. We're only a small part of that, but we hope to make a real contribution."

The cafe is being supported by the Town Centre Chaplain, the Rev Jean Hurlston.

She said: "We are working alongside the police, street ambassadors, the drug and alcohol team and the ambulance service to support vulnerable young people.

"This is not going to be a pretty project but it will certainly be a way to offer practical help."

Volunteers and funding for the cafe are now needed ahead of an initial three- month trial, which is due to start in June.

A meeting will take place on Saturday at 8pm at Bank Street Chapel. For more information, contact Adrienne Tonge on 07931 774156.