You are meant to thrive, not just survive.
On Monday 3rd September 2018 I started working for a charity based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, called Phase as their Wellbeing Lead. Before this I was in Christchurch, Dorset working as a Youth Worker for a Baptist church, whilst also studying on the MA Course at Moorlands Bible College.
Why move 163 miles away to a new area, where I didn’t know anyone, leaving the known for the unknown? Because I am absolutely passionate about seeing young people flourish, for them to be the best version of themselves and live life in all its fullness.
Phase’s vision is to work alongside young people in Hitchin to promote wellbeing and resilience, something which is essential in today’s culture. It is so important that children and young people are being equipped with the tools and skills to not just survive but also to thrive and flourish.
At Phase we aim to promote, prevent and support mental wellbeing through a variety of different activities built upon our Christian values and principles. Through the promote work we look at how we can highlight the importance of wellbeing and resilience through a variety of means such as taking assemblies, leading workshops on topics such as resilience, emotional wellbeing, transition, working with both primary and secondary schools.
We are also passionate about how we prevent issues from developing, we want to equip young people with the skills to be able to identify challenges, develop the mental resilience and agile thinking to avoid and overcome these and boslter their personal resilience.
Lastly support. Every young person deserves to be able to live life to the full, reach their potential and flourish. Our support programmes are usually delivered through one-to-one mentoring and small group work, Phase work alongside young people who may be struggling with anxiety, low self-esteem or self-harm, helping them to gain the tools and skills to growth positive coping strategies.
Along with mentoring and small group work, another activity avaliable is our Creative Space drop in. Below is a story of how art and creativity have helped a young person’s wellbeing…
Alice was struggling with self-harm and after her school finding out, she got referred to one of the self-harm groups that phase run in school, she had around 8 sessions, and found them helpful. Although coming into school was hard for Alice, she would always make sure that she came in for the sessions. As life got more difficult for Alice, she came into school less and less, with her mood dropping, becoming more anxious about people in school, and her concentration getting worse. Alice stopped going to school completely, and whilst she was getting support from CAMHS, this also had to be reduced due to her ability to concentrate. It was at the same time as this that Alice chose to start coming along to the creative space drop inn, she came every week, staying for the whole 90 minutes, engaging with activities such as photography, and scrap booking for the whole time. Alice said, ‘Creative space was a place that I felt welcome by everyone and it was a space to be understood.’ Alice was able to express her passion for art through creative space and it enabled an environment to be creative in. Slowly and steadily Alice was able to go back to school full-time,whilst continuing to engage with creative space.
It is a privilege to be able to work alongside young people like Alice and to travel part of their journey with them.
Since working with Phase no week has looked the same, and I absolutely love the variety that comes with the role. One morning you can be taking a whole year assembly, in the afternoon you can be mentoring and later on you can be part of a prayer support group.
Tony Horsfall states: One thing that I have discovered is when you are teaching something about the Christian life; it is that you have to learn it first and God has a strange way of making sure that you are not talking about theory.
Over the past couple of years, I have had to learn personally what it means to be resilient, how to bounce back and keep going when the easy option would be to give up or feel defeated. I love that when talking about resilience to the young people it isn’t just theory but it something that resonates with me so personally.
I love being part of a team that has vision and is passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people in the community of Hitchin. If you would like to find out more about our work please follow us on any of our social media platforms or visit our website.