Beyond The Porch - Latest News

We've added the text of a letter delivered to residents local to St James Church.

24 St James Rd
Hereford HR1 QS
Tel: 07779-727212
20th October 2005

Dear Residents,

We thought we should write again to update you on what St. James’ Church is trying to do for both young people and local residents. Thank you to all those who have responded to the flyer we dropped round last week. We have had a very positive response from a variety of people, all of whom realise that young people need support, and that we as residents have the right to a peaceful evening in a local area that feels safe. If you haven’t yet responded, we would still love to hear from you.

To us, church is very much about community, and we believe that a solution can be found that meets both the needs of residents and the desperate need for some of these young people to find direction in their lives and for a safe place to go.

To that end, we will be re-opening the church on Friday and Saturday nights, but with some important changes as follows: -

The whole of the church grounds will be a no-go area for everyone. Young people will be told that the ‘deal’ is - they either come inside church or leave the area entirely
We will regularly patrol outside the church building and visit the corner shop – calling the police if we have any difficulty
Inside the building we will be providing even more reasons for them to stay (This weekend we are arranging art activities on Friday and a Wallace and Grommit marathon on Saturday; next weekend will be band and then pizza-making!)

We hope that we will begin to solve the problem of young people dropping in and out. If they have to leave the whole area they are more likely to stay inside where they are welcome, or leave entirely. We have spoken to lots of them, and they are actually quite happy with this arrangement, including leaving the area quickly and quietly at 10pm.

We sincerely hope and pray that, within a few weeks, you will soon find Friday and Saturday nights are in fact better than those nights when church is not open. The church stands fully with you against the unpleasantness you may have experienced with a minority of these young people in recent months. Beyond the Porch is one way that church can do it’s bit to help to solve this problem. But as followers of Christ we want to share Gods’ love with these kids, believing strongly in their God-given potential and passionate that we should go ‘against the flow’ in not judging them but listening to them and understand their problems too. We want to solve this problem rather than shunt it somewhere else, and want to thank you for standing with us as we try to do this.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss this further. The Community Association are planning a public meeting about the needs of young people and other residents before Christmas, and we will keep you posted.

Very best wishes,

Jon Holder (Youth Worker), Tim Jones (Church Warden and Project Co-ordinator), Rob Hattersley (JABA Community Rep)
For and on behalf of Beyond the Porch @ St. James’ Church

More info on and

Posted: Thu - October 20, 2005 at 11:58 PM