4th March 2018

March Theme: Community, Enterprise & Regeneration

(from www.churchofscotland.org.uk)

 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

 

Making a Difference

In the Blackhill/Provanmill area of north east Glasgow, which is 47th on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation list, youth crime has dropped from 116 reported crimes in 2006 to two in 2016.

Much of the credit for this lies with St Paul’s Youth Forum, an arm’s-length charity which grew out of the youth club of St Paul’s Church.

Neil Young, who manages the project, says that its impact is based on ‘listening to young people, saying that we realise this is a problem, and asking what we can do to help’.

“There were a lot of problems with gang violence, and alcohol and drug abuse was rife, so a lot of our energy was directed towards working alongside the community, to create alternative ideas and outlooks.”

From a youth night for teenagers once a week, the Youth Forum has mushroomed into a seven-day-a-week operation with clubs for all ages, community youth radio station Bolt FM, residential trips, a food growing and cooking project and more.

All of this, Neil says, is driven by the young people themselves.

“All these bits and pieces stem from the young people’s ideas, and we support and nurture them. They are the ones with the power and control, and our staff are there to support the young people’s dreams."

“There is a real sense of belonging. Some of the young people are here just about every day."

“We don’t bar anyone. We have worked with young people who have caused thousands and thousands of pounds of damage, but we have a message of grace. No matter what they do, we’ll say ‘see you tomorrow’ – and that’s really challenged a number of young people because they are expecting to be excluded."

Source: Thomas Baldwin, Life and Work, written June 2017

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Action

  • Celebrate young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live.
  • How can your children and young people contribute ideas to ‘regenerate’ your church? What ideas do they have? How can they be involved?
  • Is your church an eco-church? How are, or could, young people get involved in this initiative?
  • What contribution can your church and young people have to ‘greening’ your local community? Campaign for climate change
  • How can we celebrate where young people are innovative or showing entrepreneurship?
  • Encourage and celebrate youth involvement in community councils and leadership roles at school etc.
  • Do your children and young people have other ideas?

Explore Further

  • Priority Areas Blog: Priorities... Mosaics by Rachel Smith. "One theme that has come up over and over this past year is the question: how are we being the church? Within Scotland, within The States, within this 21st century world, how are we the church?"


Year of Young People 2018
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