How MINE is working with St Thomas' to support the youth in Newcastle

First published on: 25th January 2022

By Dave Johnson, Project Coordinator for Youth and Children’s Work, MINE

In late 2019 Joel, the youth worker from St Thomas’, called me to discuss joining in with our youth work in Byker and Walker, and seeing if there were any areas he and some volunteers from the church could help us develop.

The timing was incredible – Walker Parish had just joined Mission Initiative Newcastle East (MINE) and we were ready to get to know the area.

We decided that St Thomas’ would join us in Walker Park each Friday night for a couple of hours of ‘Detached’ youth work. ‘Detached’ is all about meeting young people where they are, in parks and on the streets, and building relationships. Each week volunteers from St Thomas’ would join the local team members and head into Walker Park.

During lockdown, we rode on bikes with masks. In winter we wrapped up warm and took hot chocolate. When it rained, we still showed up. For two years the team committed to being in Walker Park every Friday, bringing footballs, chalk, snacks and drinks.

The team from St Thomas’ hadn’t done this kind of youth work before. It was such a joy to see them step out of their comfort zones, showing the young people that they were worth giving up free time for. They showed that people wanted to hear their stories, get to know them, and share the fulness of God’s love with them. One volunteer told me he’d been amazed by how one young person was a natural leader, with such a good heart.

Other team members shared about the privilege it was to be welcomed into young people’s space, and how some would wait for us each week, with others coming out just to see us. The relationships the team built with the young people were so much deeper and more beautiful than they could have expected on that first Friday evening.

Joel and the team from St Thomas’ are about to embark on a new project, working with parishes in Newcastle’s West End, and we’re so excited to hear what goes on with that. As for MINE, ‘Detached’ on a Friday night will continue with a local team, we’ve been able to start a new youth club at Walker Parish, and St Thomas’ and MINE are establishing an Eden team in Byker, all thanks to people’s willingness to step out of their comfort zones and join in with what God is doing in Walker.

  • To read the full Christmas with MINE 2021 Report, detailing their success over the winter period, please click here

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