This month's Directors Chair comes from Barrie Voyce, Business Development Director

As my job title suggests, one of things I’m involved in is developing new business for The Door. Having been a part of this amazing charity for 10 years in July, I’ve witnessed first hand just have far we’ve come in that time in growth and innovation. Its been an enormous privilege to be at the forefront of instigating working in new communities, creating whole new departments, and meeting more and more diverse needs.

This time last year, as we formulated our current Business Plan, we identified 3 keys areas of business development:

  • Expanding our Community Youthwork Services
  • Early Intervention with primary aged children
  • Developing a discreet Christian Outreach project

I'm excited to report that significant progress has been made in all three of these areas; we have successfully won new Community Youthwork contracts across the District, and are in discussions with new areas to expand further. We have received an important commission to develop support for vulnerable young people as they transition from primary into secondary school, and we have recently launched illuminateStroud.

illuminateStroud is a collaborative project with local churches, PSALMS and the Diocese of Gloucestershire working together to inspire, equip and empower Christian young people to be culture changers in their school communities through active and open faith in Jesus.

Christian young people often feel isolated and alone, believing that they are in a significant minority, however research in 2016 showed that 13% of 11-18 year olds could be regarded as 'practicing Christians' whilst a further 28% were described as 'nonpracticing Christians'.

We also know that Christian young people often fear that they will be judged as narrow-minded or bigoted by their peers. But the research also shows that the majority of non-Christian young people think Christians are Fun, Generous, Caring, and Friendly. Less than 8% think they are narrow-minded, boring or pushy. (talkingjesus.org/talking-jesus-dig-deeper/)

illuminateStroud will help these young Christians overcome their fears and think differently about their role within their community. The project will be piloting in the Stroud and Stonehouse areas over the next 18 months, connecting Christian young people regardless of background or church connection and supporting them as they grow in confidence in their faith.

I’m delighted that local churches have caught the vision of illuminateStroud and are supporting the pilot with both prayer and funds; I am also pleased to have taken on the additional role of Director of illuminate to oversee and develop the project, discreet from the current Community Youthwork of The Door, ensuring that contracts with councils and other community agencies aren’t compromised.

If you’d like to find out more about the project, information can be found on our website at thedoor.org.uk/illuminate or if you have any specific questions please get in touch: barrie@illuminatestroud.org.uk

Directors Chair with Barrie Voyce

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