A FREE internet cafe opened last Saturday in another boost for Dewsbury town centre.
Surf ‘N’ Slurp has moved in upstairs in the old Hudson’s premises in the Kingsway Arcade.
It is a joint venture between traders Paul Coates of DC Floors and Dale Hooley of Pixelle Print.
Carpet fitter Paul, 46, and gift shop owner Dale have neighbouring ground floor units at the arcade on Northgate.
They now have six computers for use, subsidised by a cafe serving hot food and drinks.
Paul, of Savile Town, is doing the cooking himself, having just passed his food hygiene certificate.
He said: “People always say Dewsbury’s dead – and ask ‘why on earth would you invest money in that dump?’
“Well, I believe in Dewsbury and want to show people that even when you’re at rock-bottom you can build yourself back up."
His motivation comes from experiencing personal problems three years ago that left him homeless.
Paul had a spell ‘sofa surfing’ and even slept in his car as the difficulties took their toll. With the support of friends he fought back and launched his own business.
He added: “It was a bad time, but now it’s time to give something back for all the help I had.”
Paul bought four Dell computers from eBay while two more, including one for gaming, were donated.
Dewsbury artist John Chamberlain painted a mural on a wall inside the cafe, which can seat up to 25 people.
Mayor of Kirklees Coun Paul Kane attended the official opening last Saturday.
Job-seeking sessions for former forces personnel, including army and police, are being held on Mondays.
Paul also aims to host a sign language course and added: “Dewsbury needs people to start showing faith – if you’ve a business idea, have a go.”
• Baby clothes retailer Little Bumps became the second shop to open in The Arcade, Dewsbury, last week.
Owner Suzanne Robson, of Liversedge, joins Sam Hirst of gift shop Sama Flora at the arcade, now run by community group Dewsbury Pioneers.