Outreach Youth Worker – Annual Report (Apr 08)

The following is a copy of the Outreach Youth Workers Report given at the APCM in April. This was a good opportunity to officially feed back on what had been going onand to share some of the plans I had for the future.

“Thank you for the opportunity to talk about what I’ve been doing as the Outreach Youth Worker here at St Francis of Assisi since starting at the end of October 2007. This is a brief overview of some of the things that have been happening:

•    I’ve written a community profile to establish for myself what is already going on in the locality and to assess the viability of new projects.
•    I’ve written a draft proposal for growing the youth work through establishing a ‘youth’ community.
•    I’ve spent time meeting and visiting other youth workers as a way of making links with churches and service providers.
•    I help to staff The Source on a weekly basis – an after school drop in for young people from yr 7 and up.
•    I’ve started to go into Bournville School, attending the CU and planning/running a new drop-in group on Wednesday afternoons.
•    I’m regularly attending St Francis’ midweek assembly and I’m planning for my future work with yr6.
•    I’m continuing to encourage young people to participate in our worship and parish events, and to plan for new parish groups in the future.
•    I circulate a regular newsletter with information of all that is going on in relation to the work and to my post.

As you can appreciate, moving into a new area and getting to know a new group of work colleagues can be a daunting experience. With this in mind, and with Revd Peter Babington’s permission, I have used my settling in period to write two reports to help this orientation process.  These formed the basis of my three month review with Peter and we discussed how the work might move forward as a result. A good chunk of my time has also been spent in meeting other local youth workers and service providers and making contact with local schools.

Parish Work
The need to establish myself as part of the FAITH Team and to try and build on its many successes has been at the forefront of my work in the parish proper. I have tried to communicate more frequently with FAITH parents and with the church through fliers and programmes and I am working on improving our records keeping by drafting a new consent form. I hope this will make all our work with young people much more targeted as well as safer. Through doing all of this I have been able to start discussions around the planning of further groups for our older young people both during the week and on Sundays. I will communicate any news about these ventures over the coming weeks and months.

Schools Work
Since Christmas, and particularly since moving into the area at the end of January, big strides have taken place in Bournville School and a new drop-in (“NuBase”) has now begun to meet to provide support and opportunities to yrs 7-9 to grow and succeed at school.
I support the school CU by attending fortnightly and I also lead on occasion. In future I will be contributing to the school newsletter on a regular basis and there is also scope to partner with a charity (Worth Unlimited) to deliver mentoring and student support through training and community-focussed activities. I feel there exists the possibility of linking some of the work that goes on at school with some events at St Francis.
I am currently visiting St Francis School with a view to going in more regularly after Easter. My work will be with year 6 and will revolve around how they might make their move to secondary school much smoother. I seek to maintain and grow the good links the parish already has with the school.

The Community
The only commitment at the moment which does not fit into the above categories is my work at The Source based at the Rowheath Pavilion. This is weekly drop-in for yr7+ and is a safe place for young people to spend their time after school. I am hoping to increase the Bournville School presence there because it has the potential to be an increasingly important resource for local young people.
Recently I also made contact with the BVT youth worker and attended some of their holiday activities. I would like to look at working more closely with them in future.

In the coming months ahead I feel that recruitment is the major requirement for the youth work at St Francis Church. With the needs that we have identified, such as yr 10+ provision and the building up of the schools work, it makes the establishing of a broad volunteer base very urgent at present.

I would be grateful for the continued prayer of the PCC and wider parish community. I wish to continue to make myself accountable by regular communication, newsletters and discussion so that the work is as reflective of the needs of the young people of Bournville as possible. I have recently set up an advisory body to help meet this aim. The group will help me to reflect on what has happened, asses what is going on at the moment and suggest how best to meet the challenges in the future months and years. However, it is only with the prayerful support of the parishioner in the pew that my role can grow and develop in the vision that God has already given you for it. I remain committed to regular prayer for the youth work and for the young people and would like to encourage more individuals to make these intentions a part of their daily intercession.

Paul Northam (Outreach Youth Worker)
April 2008″