Shoots of new life and opportunity

13th May 2022

What began with a simple request from two primary school children to Revd Jonathan Philpott to start a club has blossomed into a club for years 7-9s, with plans for a Fun Club for years 4-6 and the church is also running the toddler group. While many parishes and churches across the country are struggling, in Berrow and Brean, they are seeing shoots of new life and opportunity.

Revd Jonathan Philpott who received the original request said, ‘it’s amazing what is possible when you don’t have lots of resources, or much contact with children and young people in the church, but when God moves it is really exciting’.

In all started in 2019, when the children from the local primary school approached Jonathan about starting a club for them and their friends. Jonathan and the church were keen to work with them.  Preparations began and the club was launched in September 2019. Just as momentum was building, the pandemic began and like youth clubs up and down the country, it had to stop. 

Roll forward to July 2021. The team realised that most of the children who had initially attended Fun Club were coming to the end of Year 6 and would be moving to new secondary schools. Rather than lose contact, through their relationship with the local primary school, they organised an end of year party for all the year 6 pupils. They opened a conversation with the young people on what they would like from September onwards and came up with a new club for year 7 – 9s called Some Thing. The monthly club has attracted a regular group of 10-12 young people and conversations have begun on how to integrate and transition the next cohort of year 6s into the group.

Meanwhile, as Some Thing got up and running, plans were also underway to re-start Fun Club for children in years 4 – 6, again attracting a core of around 10-12 children. 

If that wasn’t enough, a community led toddler group which had historically taken place in St Mary’s Church Room, Berrow, was struggling to find volunteers after lockdown. It looked like it may have to close Jonathan and the church team took the opportunity stepped in. As a result, the church is now running the toddler group, including Christian content and connecting with toddlers and their parents/carers. 

Go Team Adviser, Cheryl Govier said: ‘My recent meeting with Jonathan was hugely exciting. Jonathan and his team have moved wisely, listening to God and responding carefully to the requests from children and young people. I was inspired by the way in which they have consulted with the children and young people and sought to form groups for the ages groups they had immediate contact with, using the local school as a springboard.’