Celebrating 10 years of Thrive Teams in Barton

When Thrive Teams began working in Barton 10 years ago, partnering with the newly planted Barton Community Church, it was commented on by a local church member that “Barton is a graveyard for churches”. Yet, 10 years on and many baptisms later, the church remains an integral part of the community.

Our colleague Erica Payne, who is also on the leadership team of Barton Community Church, says,

“Without Thrive Teams, Barton Community Church wouldn’t be where we are today. Staff from Innovista have played a huge part in the community and continue to serve the people of Barton.”

Sometimes success is still being here

As we reflect back on 10 years of Thrive Teams, we remember our three original aims. Growing resilience, developing leadership skills and allowing young people to explore the Christian faith have been the threads woven through all we do, shown in the lives of so many people who have knocked on our door or chatted to us on the street.

We have reached hundreds of young people. Aimee and Morgan are just two of them;

Soon after we met Aimee, we recognised the leadership potential she held and the way other young people listened to her. She quickly showed the team that she modelled the characteristics of a good leader; ‘…a leader is someone who is positive, who inspires and encourages you.”

Through the girls’ group established by Erica, Aimee grew in independence and leadership. Each time they met, Erica would ask the girls to set themselves a personal challenge. Aimee quickly started making positive changes in her life. Upon visiting Aimee’s mum a while after, her mum asked “What have you done with my daughter? She’s like a different person!”

Aimee continues to use her skills and energy positively and went on to be awarded the Thrive Teams Inspiring Leadership Award 2016.

Another young person impacted by the work of Thrive Teams who has turned his life around is Morgan;

‘Thrive Teams challenged Morgan to think of business ideas that he could start. So Morgan started his own pop-up restaurant business, and won the Inspiring Entrepreneur Award at the Oxfordshire Youth Awards!

But Morgan didn’t keep the money for himself! Instead, he used his profits to travel to the Philippines to build a house for a family who didn’t have one. Morgan said, ‘If I can change someone’s life on the other side of the world, then I can definitely change my own.’

These are just a couple of examples of the young people whose potential has been released by the work of Thrive Teams. There are so many stories still being made as youth workers continue living in community and serving the young people on their doorsteps.

These young people have the skill and the passion to bring change from within.

As one of the Barton team recently shared,

‘Soon after moving to Barton, while I was living in the Thrive Teams house, a young lad knocked on our door one evening and said “I heard you guys do mentoring. I need a mentor.”
This lad has come and gone from our lives over the years, but when I bumped into him recently on the street, he asked if Thrive Teams is still around and still doing mentoring because he really needed some help.

God has been faithful to us, which allows us to keep being faithful to this community.

Sometimes success is just still being here.’