Young people from disadvantaged areas often don’t enjoy the same head-start in life as others their age.

But we believe these young people have just as much potential as anyone else to bring about change – in their own lives, and also in their community.

That’s why we started Thrive Teams in 2010, Innovista’s Oxford hub. Thrive Teams work across three estates just outside Oxford, bringing the hope of Jesus into these hard-to-reach places.

One of our South Abingdon based youth workers, Rebecca, tells us her story:

‘I start by heading to the prayer room at Christ Church in Abingdon, where youth workers from across the town gather every week. Few of us are part of a big team, so time together to share the latest news, plan and pray for each other means a lot.

We publicise each other’s clubs and events to the young people we know, and work together on joint projects like school prayer spaces. It’s a great way to make the most of limited resources – and really encouraging.

Then I catch a lift to the local secondary school, where we spend time hanging out with kids on their lunch break.

A chat or a game of football can mean more to a kid who’s having a hard day than you’d ever think. It shows them they’re not alone, and that someone’s looking out for them.

When lunch hour’s over it’s time to grab my own lunch. Then it’s prep and set-up time for Gaming Club – an hour and a half of games, chat and fun, with Xboxes, jenga, football, crafts and sometimes a team game to bring everyone together. It’s lively and there’s lots of laughter.

As the last people finally leave, we pack up and then I head home for some much-needed food, chill-time and a debrief with my sister.

It’s a demanding job, but I can’t tell you how much I love seeing young people begin to grow in trust and self-belief.

My dream for young people in South Abingdon is that they get a chance to dream for themselves. I want them to see that they can step up, be an active part of their community, explore faith and find hope for the future.’

We desperately need to grow our youth work teams in South Abingdon, Barton and Blackbird Leys. We are also recruiting for a Finance Manager and Supporter Relations Officer to join our team. Please share these job opportunities with your network and let us know if you know of anyone who would be suitable for one these exciting roles.

Why not join a Thrive team or see if a role with Innovista would be appropriate for you?