Emma Gaze (Youth Report) | 9.02.2022
In September 2020 I started working with Gatehouse Church to develop their youth work.
In the youth at the time were 4 young people – Lucy, Peter, Maki and Jeri. The team consisted of Paula, Lewis, Tily and Daniel.
We were hoping to start an in person youth club quite soon on, and so we did some Sunday afternoon gatherings to get to know the team and invite friends. Lucy invited two of her friends and one of their brothers, so we had 7 young people.
We planned to launch in November 2020, but it became clear quite quickly that we would not be meeting in-person due to the Pandemic. So we moved Youth online, with Daniel unable to continue on team. We had weekly Zoom meetings and did the Youth Alpha course with those attending. This went really well. The sessions every week were well attended and the young people really appreciated them. It was great to provide this sense of community and continuity for the young people through an otherwise disruptive time.
During this time the team were also trained by Jamie from Limitless. They attended a weekly online training session with other Limitless teams.
Youth meet in-person
In May 2021 we were able to start the Youth club in-person. We launched on a Thursday night in the Community Centre. We provided pool, table tennis, art, games and a discussion time. During this time, we kept it to those that had been on Zoom, as we were not able to open it to more than 15 at a time. They invited their friends and so we regularly had 8 young people.
During the Summer we had a few socials – one with just our group, and one where we linked up with 2 other churches in the area. We went to the beach and had lunch and played games.
This meeting with the other churches was beneficial as Matthew Jackson, St Thomas’ Children’s and Youth worker, volunteered to come and help at our Youth on a Thursday. This was good, as by this time both Tilly and Lewis had said they couldn’t commit to being on the Youth team anymore.
We needed new team members, so Peter, then 17, and Isaac, 18, stepped up! It was so good to have these young team members be so passionate and committed in terms of seeing the youth work flourish.
Youth Night / Hot Chocolate Outreach
In September 2021 we relaunched the Youth Night, alongside the new Hot Chocolate Outreach. Every Thursday at 3pm we set up a stall outside the church and serve free hot chocolates to all the pupils from South Shore who come past after school. This has gone really well. We have teamed up with the Eden team, and an affiliate, Annie, comes to help every week and is a real asset. We regularly give out over 150 cups to the pupils and community around at that time. They are so appreciative of it, and is a great way to connect with them and advertise the Thursday Night Youth Club.
After starting the Hot Chocolate outreach we had around 25 young people from the community turn up in the evening. We have around 45 young people on the books and regularly get, on average, 20 young people every week coming on a Thursday evening. They say how much they love and appreciate it. Many of the young people struggle at school and at home, and it is a real safe point in their week. We also share something of our faith in a God slot every week, and several have made some steps towards God during these times.
We also have had 2 baptisms – Peter and Lucy got baptised in October which was great to see.
As it stands:
- Matt will take on the youth for one day a week.
- The Hot chocolate is going well with Matt, Annie, Isaac and Peter involved in this.
- Thursday evenings have around 45 young people on the register with about 20 coming regularly. They will be run by Matt and we have a rota for people to help in the kitchen with Peter and Isaac to assist Matt. We need another female team member to make this a strong sustainable team – we are praying that Annie/Emma will be able to help in the evenings.
- South Shore have been contacted and are eager to have us come in and deliver an Assembly about the club and maybe do some mentoring with the young people that attend the club and their school. This needs to be followed up by Matt.
It has been a real privilege working with Gatehouse during this time. Their passion and persistence in reaching and looking after the young people in the area is invaluable. The youth work is so necessary for the area. I know, for many of the young people, it is a real lifeline and a safe place and the only connection to God and Hope that they have.
Thank you for your prayers and support, it really is vital work you are doing.
Pioneers Project Developer