Welcome to Fusion Youth and Community UK's
Monthly Update for May!
This month we hear from Andy Prosser as he shares about the young people he's working with and how research has helped guide his youth work. You will also find links to a blog on our website with more Centre specific Fusion news and this month's Process of Mission spotlight. We hope all of these elements will encourage, inspire and and equip you wherever you are! May you know the richness of God's loving presence and may you be reminded of his action in the following stories.
Knowing how to love East Preston
Andy shares how research has served his community
Three years ago Andy Prosser began a project of researching the needs of the youth and community of East Preston, Lancashire. Since then he has continued to see lives impacted, new initiatives birthed and young people come to faith. We asked Andy to share what the process was like and the rewards of the research he sees today.
Q: What was the research process like for you Andy? Andy: It was quite a lengthy process of tying people down to get interviews, longer than I thought and hoped! But it was about hearing from different perspectives, business people, people in Government, local parents and professionals.I think the overall impact, for me, was that there was a lot of people that cared about their area. There was a common opinion, almost across the board, that there wasn't enough youth work happening. So it wasn't something we made up, we were definitely stepping into a big void, a real need identified by the community. The main thing was capturing the heart of people, seeing how many people genuinely care for their community. That was rewarding.
Q: How did your research findings influence how you reach out to/serve your community and its young people? Andy: We identified the lack of the arts, as young people weren't getting any kind of arts exposure past their school. There’s still a void really. We’re (Fusion) doing a video project, but to be honest it’s scratching the surface of the need.
Q: What is this video project doing for the young people involved? Andy: It’s got them thinking about issues around poverty in the city locally and for them to think creatively about addressing it. They explore music in a way that they haven’t done before, with a lot of variety and with lots of other young people they wouldn't get to mix with normally. They get to experience a recording studio and film/tv studio, which is not necessarily an opportunity that is easy to come by for them.
Left: Andy (bottom left) with some of the youth in East Preston. Right: A picture from the Video Project.
Q: How else has your findings innfluenced how you reach out to your community? Andy: The police I spoke to said they’d had a lot of difficulty with anti-social behaviour from kids of a young age. So this influenced the age range policy at our Youth Café. We started allowing younger ones to come and that saw the Café take off! So we’re now working with late-primary school to early secondary school aged kids, rather than trying to focus on the older teenagers. I think that’s been helpful for the Police as well as for us (in meeting the needs).
Q: Tell us about some of the young people you've worked with in the last few years. Andy: Two sisters have been coming (to our programs) all the way through. When they first started attending they were quite hostile and disruptive. Now they’re also on the video project. I think because of that they've got to know us really well. They've really turned a corner, they are quite helpful now. They turn up early and help with setup for Café. They’re exposed to the briefing and us praying together. They've come a long way from being disruptive to getting involved more. We’re working with them to be peer leaders, trying to mentor them to use their influence, not to be bossy, but to lead.
In a town that said they needed more youth work provision, Andy continues to work hard to see a better future. We celebrate the hard work he is doing to meet some of the needs identified in his report. We look forward to sharing more stories of lives being impacted over the next coming months, as more young people are given opportunities to find their place in community of East Preston.
To read more of Fusion's findings and recommendations for East Preston, you can read the report here
CENTRE UPDATES:Each month our teams around the country do and support a lot of great kingdom work! So we've started a monthly news post on our website. It provides short, up to date news snippets from each centre. Click here to access it now!
Fusion Wheatleyhad a fantastic Fun Day for St George's Day on Saturday the 25th of April. To read a report of the day click here.
Fusion Whitley is taking off!The team have been busy supporting the development of local outreach. To find out more click here.
Last week we sent through news of Fusion worker, Ruth Luxmi in Nepal about 24 hours after the earthquake hit. Many of you have been praying for her since – thank you for your encouraging messages, which we have passed on. We have remained in touch with Ruth via text and facebook. One of our Australian team spoke with her at length a couple of days ago, to find out how things are for her, please click here.
The Process of Mission is Fusion's way of articulating the key aspects we have found to be necessary for reaching whole communities and seeing people find their place in God's Kindgom. If you'd like to be encouraged on your journey of life and mission, we hope these spotlights will do just that and provide helpful food for thought!
Process of Mission Spotlight: RESEARCH
by Dr. Claire Bankole, Fusion Whitley
Research is about listening to the community. Research is crucial to the Process of Mission as it informs, and directs every other aspect of the process, including our prayers for the community.
In Whitley, we recently released our research findings into the needs of the youth and community of Whitley. The actual research process helped to connect us deeply with the community. Through it we discovered both the richness of God’s design for the community and the brokenness that exists, both past and present. Now we are better placed to bring a helpful contribution to mission, development and advocacy in the community; and there is a fresh intentionality in our praying.
Fusion's research projects can be quite big, formal projects, but research can also be informal like having conversations with neighbours and taking note of your surroundings. It can even be a lot of fun like a photo competition ‘my neighbourhood through my eyes’, or filming a vox-pops survey at the local shopping precinct. Really it’s anything that means we have more than just our preconceptions to go off, anything that helps us get a real picture of how things are for people in our neighbourhood.
If you would like to grow a more accurate picture of your community as experienced by your neighbours, one way to start might be simply asking them: What do you like about this community? Are there things you think need addressing?
You can also visit our website and take a look at some of the research reports for some ideas. If you want to have a go at conducting some more formal research that will help shape your mission, here is a manual that might be helpful.
Thanks for reading our update. We hope you enjoyed it. Next month we'll be sharing about the importance of earning trust and building relationship through broad legitimate contact in our communities. .
Until then, have a great month and enjoy spring!
Skye Leon, on behalf of
Fusion Youth and Community UK
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Fundraising Quiz Night - Fri 22nd May Book your table: click here
The Big Lunch - 7th June
will your neighbours be lunching together? South Reading Fun Day - 27th June
British Pilgrimage of Hope -
25th July - 11th August. Book your place: Click here .
Transforming our Society - Fusion's National Conference
27-29th November 2015 Book your place now: Click here.