Thrive Teams Appeal Update

A lot has happened since we wrote to you on 20 March to ask you to please help Team Leader Matt as he, and his Thrive Teams colleagues, urgently moved all of their youth work online. We were so encouraged by the warmth of your response and your incredible generosity.

Thanks to you, we’ve been able to keep the Thrive Teams doors wide open during this crisis and continued to support some of the most disadvantaged/vulnerable young people in Oxford.

Young people’s frustration has been mounting over the last few weeks with many of them getting increasingly bored and ‘just wanting to go out and play football’. Some of the young people have been directly impacted by Coronavirus and have had deaths in the family. Grief has been a challenge. There is a fresh sense of appreciation for the structure and social interaction that school brought and a yearning for ‘life to just go back to normal’.

In the midst of this, Matt has been actively supporting two of the young leaders in South Abingdon as they adjust to life in lockdown. They are keen to get started on the digital leadership sessions that Matt has been developing with colleagues. He hopes to bring young leaders together from across the three Thrive Teams to create critical mass and momentum in these sessions.

Rising stars are bubbling to the surface too – young people who are showing the leadership characteristics needed to lead in a season of crisis. These are the youth workers of the future!

Arts and Crafts sessions have continued with enthusiasm and the young people give themselves creative challenges to achieve throughout the week whether that’s learning a musical instrument or a new language. They present back to the group each week showing how they’ve developed themselves.

Team leaders have been posting inspirational and up-beat messages and videos regularly on social media to engage the young people and to help them to think positively and manage their own well-being in this season.

Some of the young people haven’t been so keen to join group video calls; they struggle with self-esteem and don’t like seeing themselves online. The pressure of social media has exacerbated this. We’ve been trying to engage and encourage them in different ways and some of them have responded warmly to phone calls or the hand-written cards that we’ve sent.

This work isn’t without it’s challenges – young people from disadvantaged communities don’t have access to reliable or expensive tech, mentoring is hard to replicate online and our football sessions have had to close – but despite this, we are encouraged!

Your support, prayers and encouragement have kept us moving forward during these tough times. Your passion for the young people living in disadvantaged communities inspires us. We thank God for your loyalty and commitment to Thrive Teams throughout this crisis.

Thank you!