How you could reach out to London’s most disadvantaged young people
If you have a heart for reaching vulnerable young people and you’re based in either Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington or Camden, then XLP would love to hear from you!
We know many churches care passionately about the young people in our city and are often looking for ways to help. Building those bridges and relationships takes time and effort and can often feel like a daunting prospect, especially amidst the rising levels of knife crime and gang violence across London. This is where XLP has considerable expertise and experience.
XLP grew out of a church in Lambeth in 1996 in response to a stabbing in a school. Now 22 years on, in a year that has seen the highest level of knife crime ever recorded in London, we continue to work with young people caught up in youth violence, together with the multitude of issues that disproportionately affect young people growing up in poverty.
We build long-term relationships with 10 to 20 year-olds to keep them in school, away from crime, and working towards creating positive futures. Having volunteers who are willing to be there through thick and thin as a consistent, loving presence is vital to bring about changes in these young people’s attitudes, behaviours and aspirations.
At XLP, we are looking for volunteers from your churches to come and build those relationships with young people. Volunteers do not need youth work experience, only a desire to work with young people, a sense of hope and a belief that change is possible.
There are two main ways you or your congregation members could get involved. One way is through our bus projects, which are, in essence, mobile youth centres which visit over 20 housing estates in the nine boroughs each week. The other way is through our one-to-one mentoring programme in Tower Hamlets and other boroughs south of the Thames.
One volunteer said, ‘it is always a highlight seeing young people grow in confidence and start to believe in themselves’. Another remarked, ‘volunteering allows me to be the adult I needed when I was younger’.
If you or any of your congregation have a passion for helping young people, we would love to hear from you, and would gladly come and speak to you or your church to explain more about this exciting opportunity.
Linked to the serious issue of youth crime, both the Bishops of London and Southwark are sponsoring a Pan-London serious violence summit at Southwark Cathedral, on the 13 November from 1.45pm until 8pm. To find out more see here.