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/ 20 December 2011

Youth worker to carry Olympic Torch through Barnet

A youth worker from Stonegrove Estates youth project, which is run out of St Peter’s Community Church on the Stonegrove Estate, Edgware, has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through Barnet next year to mark the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Darwin Bernardo, who set up the youth empowerment and support organisation, Nutmeg Community, in 2008, is a sessional youth worker at the Stonegrove Estates youth project. The three year old project, which is operated by St Peter’s along with other local partners, provides positive activities, information and a voice for 8-17 year olds living on the Stonegrove Estates.

Darwin’s recognition by the Olympic authorities comes as local campaigning and funding for the project from Big Lottery, Barnet Homes, Barratt Homes, Family Mosaic, John Lyons Trust and the London Borough of Barnet, have succeeded in ensuring the project’s future for the next year. As a result of this partnership, the project has been able to employ two additional experienced youth workers who will join Darwin in working with St Peter’s to improve young lives on the Stonegrove Estates.

St Peter’s is at the heart of the community in Stonegrove, providing prayer, space and volunteers in one of London’s most deprived areas. The work of the church has been acknowledged by the provision of vital funding from the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund for the post of Pioneer Minister on the estates.

The Olympic flame will be carried through more than 1,000 villages, towns, cities and London boroughs for 70 days. The relay will start at Land’s End in Cornwall on 19 May, and on the final day the flame will be taken down the River Thames to the Olympic Stadium on 27 July.

Revd Simon Rea, Pioneer Minister at St Peter’s, Stonegrove said:

"The Stonegrove Estates’ Youth project has given a real boost to the young people of this area and Darwin’s work has been crucial in this. He’s a real role model for the youth here and it’s great to see how he – and the work he does – have received recognition by the Olympic authorities. I’m delighted that he’ll be carrying the torch through Barnet – and I feel in some way it’s also a reflection of St Peter’s mission to be a light at the heart of Stonegrove."

Darwin Bernardo said:

"It is a privilege to serve my community and inspire the young people of Stonegrove Youth Club to be active citizens. The facilities provided for us by the church will enable us to run the youth club effectively and keep empowering the future generation."


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