Last Saturday (31 January 2015), the Beeston SPACE youth project celebrated its tenth birthday with a celebration at St Luke’s Church.
In that time, the group has touched the lives of over 300 youngsters through 2,000 hours of youth work, including 130 trips and 25 residentials. Over 50 volunteers have been involved, who have together made more than 25,000 home visits and driven 11,000 minibus miles transporting kids to and from the activities.
Over 150 people, SPACE members past and present and their families, attended the event and shared in the fun. There were photo displays of the activities enjoyed over the years, tables laden with food, short films, quizzes and games, inflatable jousting and a photo booth to record who was there.
There were a few speeches, but we also heard young people share how SPACE has impacted their lives, and met parents who had been affected by the compassion and care shown by the team over the years.
One mum, Claire, spoke of her appreciation of all that SPACE had done for her family. Since the beginning, five of her children have been part of SPACE and the sixth is waiting to join in September. When asked what SPACE had done for her children, she said:
“It supports them with any problems they have, builds their confidence and gives them experiences that they wouldn’t have otherwise. They’ve experienced the diversity of our area and mixed with a variety of people. When they come back and tell me what they are doing, that has made me want to be a better person. But mostly the staff are amazing. The care and attention and love they give is what makes SPACE so special. It wouldn’t be what it is without those people.”
When the young people were asked about SPACE, this is what they said:
“SPACE is a safe place”
“SPACE helps influence my decisions”
“SPACE will cheer you up”
“The leaders talk to you and will give you advice”
“SPACE is like one big, dysfunctional family”
Asked about their favourite memories of SPACE, the young people responded:
“when we worked at clearing up the streets in different areas of Leeds”
“going to Alton Towers”
“my first residential, when I became a Christian”
“meeting people – I’ve made some really good friends”
Volunteers were also asked about why they volunteer:
“I really want to invest in the lives of these children but I get something back from them as well”
“I went to SPACE and now its time to give something back”
SPACE is a network of youth groups across several of Leeds’ inner city communities. Run by volunteers from across a wide spectrum of churches, SPACE (leedsspacenetwork.co.uk) seeks to build relationships with young people and their families, to share faith them, and to help to transform communities. It’s a project within Leeds Christian Community Trust (www.lcct.org.uk).
Please get in touch if you wish to volunteer, set up a group, donate, or find out more.
This post was written by Claire Probert using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.