Beyond the Porch - JABA’s new Young People’s Editor, Lauren Edwards, reports

Everyone has been discussing the new Beyond The Porch scheme for local young people in one form or another, so this reporter went down to see first hand what was going on!

Beyond The Porch started back in September when the church opened its doors to the young people congregating in the porch. Inside, the young people can participate in a range of activities coordinated by the church group, including band practice or cookery as well as table football and snooker. The participants are welcome to join in the activities or just sit and chat in a friendly and safe environment. In either case it is clear that the young people are grateful for a welcoming and warm atmosphere away from prejudice, which is reflected in the respectful way that they conduct themselves in and around the area. Read more ...

Not only is the church reaching out to young people, but the young people in turn are embracing the opportunity to spend their nights in good company. This two way activity illustrates the need to build strong relationships with young people in any community as well as the need that exists for such places for young people to attend in the evenings.

The church has come up against some resistance from immediate neighbours to the church. Some practices have had to be rethought to take into account local residents, as well as the safety of the young people, but it is important to understand that initiatives such as these grow and establish themselves over time. For example, the team are now trying to keep all the young people in the church by making the outside a no-go area. Smoking is now also banned in the porch, and, perhaps controversially, Beyond the Porch is now only for Year 10 (age 14) and up.

Although there are drawbacks to such a venture, it is encouraging that the community has taken the first step of realising that there is room for improvement in our youth’s recreational activities. By taking positive action we are not pushing the problem into other areas, but turning the spotlight around, addressing the issues on our own doorsteps and trying to find a solution, which is beneficial to us all.

Posted: Thu - December 15, 2005 at 09:40 AM