Over the weekend of 14/15 September, the Harvington Youth Project will be celebrating 25 years with a family fun day and joint service. The group was started as a joint venture between St James in Harvington and Harvington Baptist Church and is still going strong with groups for children aged 7 – 10 and 10 – 13 meeting weekly as well as a third group for those aged over 13 about to be re-launched.
Harvington Youth worker, Hannah Owen, said: “It was started by a small group of people who saw young people in the village who needed to hear Jesus’ message. They were really passionate about sharing their faith and the project continues to be focussed around discipleship and helping young people to know Jesus. We get around 20 people to each group most weeks, mainly from around the village, but some come from Norton and also Evesham if they’ve got friends coming.”
There are a strong group of volunteers and trustees involved in the project and it is supported by the parish council as well as with prayer and financial help from many others. As well as meeting weekly, there are trips and summer activities and the project often has a presence at community events.
“We talk to the children about they want to do in their groups,” continues Hannah. “We often look at current affairs or issues that the young people are dealing with and how they might respond as a Christian. This year our older group are very keen to look at eco issues – for example how they could make plastic-free, reusable makeup wipes. We’ve also done litter picks in the past.
“There’s a real mix of young people in our village of very different backgrounds and it’s great to see them all together. As our village churches get smaller, it’s essential to relate our faith to the next generation. We see a few regularly in church, but lots more at our special events such as our light party – our aim is to make church relevant to them.”
The 25th birthday celebrations will take place at Ellenden Farm so that they are community based. There will be a family fun day on the Saturday with inflatables, circus skills and face painting and young people will have the opportunity to take part in workshops such as hand bell ringing and singing. After a BBQ, there will be performances of the skills learnt in these workshops as well as the chance for other young people to perform. On Sunday, both churches will join together in a joint celebration with the young people involved in the music group and the prayers.