[The Project is being re-organized as a charity with the name “Thrive Leeds”.]
Annual Report for 2017 Click here
Annual Report for 2018: please contact the project
What did we look like? December ‘17
Messy Church is a time for families to explore faith through creativity, stories, a time of celebration and sharing a meal together. Over the last year we have had contact with about 40 different families and about 150 different people (not including team members families). This is a mixture of families who regularly attend a Sunday morning church, those who are connected to a church through other activities, and those for whom Messy Church is their only real connection with a church. We have grown a core group of people who return each month, and we are starting to build better relationships with the families who come.
Some thoughts from a family who come regularly include that they love all the activities, but they also just love the opportunity to be together at the end of the weekend, to catch up with friends, and to enjoy a simple meal together, singing and listening to stories about Jesus.
Some thoughts from a team member are that they love the friendships, the stories, the sharing of food together and the different ways to think and learn about God. It is very messy and that’s great!
Activity based club for 9-12 year olds that explore issues of life from a faith perspective through games, activities, chats and fun. We look at topics such as friendship, being online, fear, wisdom, the Bible and fruits of the Spirit. We currently have an average of 25 children attending from 3 different schools, half boys and half girls. We have one 17 year old young leader and also give the entire group the opportunity to have a go at leading games, which is an important aspect of the project. Seven young people made faith commitments at our last annual residential.
Some TT stories…
There have been a couple of occasions when some of the children coming have really struggled at school with bullying and disrupted friendship groups and have come to TT in order to build connections with their peers. Parents have told me how much TT helped to give their children confidence and a safe space to build friendships and be themselves, and how it helped them settle in at school too.
Some quotes from the children:
‘It gives everyone a chance to take part and speak.’
‘A good place to make new friends.’
‘It’s good to be part of a group and not just by yourself.’
‘We look out for each other’
‘It gives us a chance to lead’
A youth group with small groups as part of the time together, which explore topics of life from a faith perspective. The first half of the evening is informal and the young people are welcomed, organise games of sport or table top games, hang out and chat, and make themselves cups of tea and toast in the kitchen. We have two young leaders who are 17 and we also encourage the whole group to have a go at leading – currently by leading a game or activity for the whole group and developing into leading in their small groups. Halfway through the evening we gather to share news, play a game and introduce what we’re chatting about. Then the young people split into four small groups where they explore a topic together. These groups are shaped around those who are part of the group, so each is a little different. We have looked at series such as justice, Jesus’ parables, difficult questions of faith and emotional wellbeing. We aim to get the group to choose the topics that they would like to look at.
We currently have an average of 30 young people attending from four different schools and linked to seven different churches and no church connection. There are half boys and half girls.
We host a residential each year – away or sometimes locally, which gives the group the opportunity to get out of the city and see a different environment, as well as building positive relationships across the group through the shared experience.
Some WOW stories…
Ben and Isaac have come along to CAYP groups since primary school and are now involved in running WOW alongside adult leaders. They coordinate the group to lead games each week and take part in running some of the small group activities and discussions. It is great to have them around and to see how well they connect with those that are younger – they are approachable and are role models for the young people. As the culture of CAYP is that young people get to have a go at things, this has been a natural progression into leadership for them.
Some quotes from the young people…
‘I feel confident sharing questions and opinions that I won’t be judged’
‘We have the chance to choose the topic of our discussion.’
‘I feel able to discuss my fears with others!’
‘I can be honest without being judged’
‘The leaders are very good’
‘A great bunch of people having fun with games and discussions, leaders are great and supportive’
We currently lead assemblies in two local primary schools – Mill Field and Chapel Allerton Primary – and are building up our resources so that we have a range of assemblies to offer other schools.
We support schools in exploring faith festivals, such as advent, as well as communicating about other topics that fit in with the themes of the schools.
For the last four years we have worked with all Year 6 pupils at Mill Field primary to support them as they transition into Year 7, through a programme called High School Heroes. We explore with the children what they have to offer the high school that they are joining – what kind of hero can they be? And we talk about their fears by looking at what kind of villains they might encounter at high school and work together to explore how they can be defeated. This has been a brilliant partnership as we work alongside Leeds Faith in Schools (who are present in High Schools across the city) and RAISE, who are passionate about raising self esteem and confidence.
We have currently supported eight classes of children in Year 6 and also work in a more specialised way with some particularly vulnerable pupils once they reach Year 7, which is detailed below.
After the most recent High School heroes, 96% of the children involved said they enjoyed the session and they gave feedback about how their perception of high school had changed. We were encouraged by the many responses we got from children who had felt nervous, shy or frightened before the session, who then said that they were excited and more confident after our session.
Some quotes from the children about what they got from the session:
‘I will help more and be a hero to help others’
‘Just be a hero, no one can stop you!’
We work in Carr Manor High with a particular focus on supporting vulnerable young people. At the start of each academic year, we work alongside RAISE to support a small group (6-8) of girls who have just started in Year 7, by running a six week course. We tailor our sessions to meet the needs of the group, but may well cover topics such as listening, self esteem, encouragement, identity and community. An important aspect to the group is that we spend time listening to the girls and shape the time together around what would most help them.
In our most recently evaluated group, some of the value the girls found in the group was:
That they’ve been encouraged to talk more and find their voice
‘Getting to show what I can do’
Self esteem and confidence was mentioned by three people
Being able to recognise the range of emotions that they have
After the six week course, we work with the school to explore what would be the best support to continue to offer. We have run three girls’ groups in the past, continuing to work with the same group for a ten week programme called Unique; and also supported two girls with one to one mentoring for the whole of their time in Year 7.
It’s worth noting that LFiS(Leeds Faith in Schools) run a similar small group for boys who have started Year 7.
Thank you so much for your work with the girls. The girls always look forward to your lessons and I agree I have definitely seen a change in R.
Nicola Spacer, Year 7 Year manager
We also work with LFiS to run a lunchtime club for young people where we explore something around Christian faith. This group has run for the last two years, has had between 6 and 12 young people as part of it and included young people of faith and none too. We are led by the group as to what and how much we do in these times, and provide some breathing space for them in the middle of a busy school day.