Board games, hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, sweets, Jaffa Cakes and ice cream… the recipe for an amazing summer programme at the South Cheltenham Churches. Young people aged between 8 and 19 were invited to CNC to play games together and have fun on Wednesday mornings.
Abbie Marsh said, “The idea was to keep it simple. We had a selection of board games for people to play, the most popular being Carcassonne, Takenoko, Yetti and Twister.
“We expected a lot of church families to come along, but actually very few church families came and it was mostly young people and families from the community.”
The family support worker of one young person who didn’t normally attend church said, “A generally really positive experience had by me and the young person I’m supporting. I’m so grateful for you holding this activity club. My young person was able to meet new people during summer, and explore different games that he has told me and his family all about, because he enjoyed them so much. Unfortunately, my young person hasn’t been able to spend too much time outside of the home this summer and so he has really looked forward to Wednesday mornings. Initially, I found it really difficult to find any activities that my young person would be able to take part in at his age, throughout the summer, but being put into contact with you was amazing. You’ve added something to his summer and we are both so thankful.”
Abbie reflected, “I was asking myself after the first event, what are we achieving here? I felt God say that we were providing a safe haven where young people and families could find respite. In this simple space, we were providing community, calm, welcome and hospitality. And in that space, I felt the presence of God. Even if not every week was busy, we felt that it was valuable to hold a space that was there and open for the young people and families. Keeping it simple meant that whether there were 30 people or 15, we were still able to have a good time.”
Next year, she is thinking of providing a different option for young people who don’t like board games, but to continue to have a simple idea at the core.
Abbie is a youth worker across five churches in South Cheltenham and this event was open to anyone and based across two churches.