Impact Youth is a community youth project we help to facilitate in the Ainsdale area. Engagement of young people with church through traditional Sunday services and fellowship groups is very sparse (<5%). However, the Churches Together in Ainsdale have seen this as a creative opportunity. They partner together to provide something alternative, which aims to take the ethos and success of our secondary school Safe Spaces and shine this same light into the local community through a wonderful church partnership.
As with our lunchtime sessions in secondary school, we aim to create a safe space for the young people attending Impact to explore the big issues of life and faith.
Currently meeting in the cafe/lounge and sports hall at Ainsdale Methodist Church, we transform the space once a week into a youth venue with big screens, games consoles, lights, music, chill-out space and a variety of sports.
As with lunchtimes, we provide an opportunity for young people to rate their mental health and wellbeing with our traffic light system as they arrive.
Around half way through the evening, we provide a small meal and cake, followed by “Cake Space” – a chance where we gather all the young people together to chat over cake and drinks, build community in a fun way and discuss our ‘Rooted’ question of the week from Scripture Union. It’s a great opportunity to bring a weekly burst of input that builds on the relationships we have developed through school and also provides opportunity for those young people who are beginning to show an interest in exploring, responding and growing in the Christian faith.
We value one week’s session at Impact at £330, however through much donated time, equipment and venue costs, the project has recently only been costing £6,400 per year. To extend this offer in future years and sustain an annual provision, we are seeking £14,000 annually. This would fund more opportunities, such as a youth worship gathering as the faith of the young people blossoms, plus a staff member committed to this particular area to best mentor them in them as they develop.