Hello! My role is Youthwork Manager. This means I look after all of The Door’s youthwork across the Stroud District and South Cotswolds. With my amazing team of 12 staff, I make sure that the quality of our delivery stays high so young people get the best youthwork we can offer.
As well as keeping an eye on the day to day running I make sure to maintain strong relationships with all our stakeholders.
And who are they?
We work with so many different groups in the community, it would be impossible to name them all but to give you a flavour we work with local councils, police, neighbourhood wardens, schools and of course parents.
That must keep you busy!
It certainly does.
What is it that you enjoy most about your role?
The vibrancy and diversity that working with young people brings has to be the highlight.
But, coaching the team and supporting them is something I particularly enjoy. Being able to be part of a team where I can bring my past experiences and skills to help them learn and of course learning from them too. I also really enjoy new projects and getting to know new areas, meeting new people and being able to bring something positive to their community.
That’s great, you mentioned past experience, have you always been a youthworker?
Not exactly, when I started work out of university I was in mortgages.
I volunteered at a local youth club and discovered I had a real passion for young people. So I retrained at Moorlands Theology College in Dorset. From there I went on to run a ‘mini’ youth service in Warminster. Initially, it was funded by the local authority but when the Government cuts came the local churches stepped in. My job became more of a chaplaincy role in the school which I really enjoyed.
Some years later my Wife’s work with the Baptist Church took us to Thornbury, where I joined Argos as a delivery driver while looking for my next move. Then I landed at The Door.
It’s a pleasure to have you on the team.
So you have plenty of youthwork experience, what do you find the most challenging about your role?
Having the wisdom and capacity to provide meaningful support while looking after our own health is an important challenge we face each day.
But it’s also the serious challenges that young people are facing, from mental health to antisocial behaviour and poverty to limited access to the support they need. Youth culture is forever changing; young people have access to so much information and are always ahead of the curb. So for the team, it’s a challenge to ensure we are always meeting them where they are at.
Interesting. Now, what are you excited about for the future of youthwork at The Door?
I’m excited for the new opportunities we have to explore the ever-growing digital space as a way to positively engage with young people. And new geographical areas, the pioneer work we are already doing in the south Cotswolds is going from strength to strength.
That does sound exciting! Now we move onto the slightly less serious questions.
Firstly, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Easy! Steak. Ideally in the Brazillian Picanha style (sorry vegans!)
Ok, sports next…
I’m a bit sports mad, I enjoy watching it all, football, rugby, tennis even surfing!
And finally, do you have a quote you would like to share?
I’m going to be cheeky and have 2
Firstly from Shane Claiborne – “When we ask God to move a mountain, God may hand us a shovel”
And secondly Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I like this because it’s not just talking about the Sunday bits or the Spiritual Stuff, every last thing we do from cleaning and cooking to looking after our children and our friends is something we can be thankful for.