Determined to be there

Plunging into a third national lockdown just as the new term started has been hard for young people. Loss of routine again, separation from friends again, and contending with online learning again amplifies anxiety for so many. Thrive Teams are determined to be there, supporting and cheering on young people in Oxford’s most disadvantaged communities.

Thrive Teams are operating in “Readiness Level RED” which allows a lot of work to continue in person with vulnerable or high need young people. It is permissible to meet these young people indoors – both one-to-one and in support groups. On cold winter nights, this is a game-changer. Outdoors, detached youth work is allowed with all young people, and, of course, online youth work can continue. Read below our plans for the term, and find out what we were able to do over Christmas.

The Christmas holidays!

Our teams did a fantastic job at bringing festive fun to young people this Christmas. Both teams ran hugely popular Rocket League (video game) tournaments with snacks and prizes. The Leys team also hosted a Christmas film night showing Spiderman: Far from Home with a group of behaviourally-challenged 11 and 12 year old young people. We connected with new families, and we saw our own young leaders step up in a number of ways during the holidays. All in all, we were encouraged and grateful for these opportunities.

Coming up in South Abingdon

Our work is currently framed around outdoor one-to-one sessions with young people, helping mitigate the elevated risk of spreading the virus, due to team leader Matt’s wife’s work as a nurse with coronavirus patients. For now, all group work will be done online.

Matt shared this encouragement this week:
“One young person has blown many of us away. Dan* was once an aggressive individual with a chip on his shoulder who felt he needed to present a certain type of image. I was surprised when he asked to come along, as looking at him you wouldn’t think board games were his cup of tea. Boy, how we were wrong. He said to me, ‘Matt, this session brings a sense of calm and I love it. I don’t have to be ‘that’ person.’ The next step is for me to start mentoring him.”

Coming up in The Leys

In addition to one-to-ones with vulnerable young people, Daniel’s team is running a Monday support group for 11 and 12 year old’s and a few young leaders, and an online Art and Craft club for the older group.

At the end of January Daniel will start a six-week series of Young Leaders workshops, either face-to-face for vulnerable young people, or otherwise on Zoom. This will be in partnership with Oxfordshire Youth*.

Sadly, we have had to stop our open access Monday youth group and both our detached work in the playground and Christian Union at The Oxford Academy. We can’t wait for the day when we can restart all of these activities.

Thank you to our amazing teams!

And we wanted to say a public thank you to team leaders Matt and Daniel, and their teams of volunteers, for their extraordinary efforts to continue to engage with the young people this year. They’ve done a great job.