60:40 project – equipping young people in Lambeth

The 60:40 project is a collaborative partnership between the Ascension Trust, London City Mission, the Lambeth Methodist Circuit and Young Life International. We are currently working with the young people within the borough of Lambeth to help equip and encourage them to develop their skills and potential to have a positive impact within their communities.

The initiative is based at the old Kings Acre Methodist Church site which is in the process of being re branded and renamed BAC Youth Zone by the young people we are working with. The focus of 60:40 is to provide a model for youthwork within a community.

Group joing hands in centre of table

40% of the focus is to help develop youthwork within our churches. To walk and work alongside our young people, helping them discover leadership skills and talents that can be used to serve within the bigger picture of the Church’s mission.

The remaining 60% of the focus is looking at how can we build strong, healthy relationships with the other young people in our community and help them develop the same skills and opportunities to stand up and be counted. To create an environment where they can feel safe and be safe to discover who or what they are called to be.

We strongly believe that young people thrive off responsibility, as this indicates a trust and value in their work and being, as people whose opinions and actions count in the here and now. This is true in both aspects (the 60 & the 40) of our work so we partner with people and organisations who provide spaces where our young people can take responsibility and be guided through making the positive impact that they want to see.

The strength of relationship is the heart and key to all valuable youthwork. We wholeheartedly believe this needs to be modelled through all levels of organisation. Between the 4 partners on the 60:40 Project, we have a combined 380+ years’ worth of youth work experience, and it’s only by coming together and sharing that wealth of knowledge and wisdom that we can truly help develop the platform for these young people to grow.

To share all levels of resources and signpost effectively to the support that is available, we have to ask these questions:

  • Who has the personnel?
  • Who has the facilities?
  • Who has the finances?
  • Who has the experience?
  • Who has the connections/networks?

Coming to the table as a partnership helps us achieve this, but ultimately, we’re all asking this same one question: ‘How Can We Help?’

From here we listen to the responses as one united group, and then show what we have to offer, highlighting areas that we are in need, and from there, look at ways of plugging those gaps with people and resources who can support the mission.

Group of young people around a table

Our two lead youth workers on the project, Nathaniel Martin and Peter Brown, are engaging with Churches, Schools, the local authorities, local businesses and other youth work organisations, to show how we are able to support each other more effectively if we work together in harmony.

Nathaniel writes ‘The 60/40 Youth Project provides practical ways to engage with and support young people. As a young man who grew up in Brixton, through all of the challenges of growing up in an area with high rates of crime and violence; having access to youth club facilities, through my church and through local government, benefitted me massively. My aim is to help young people in the same way that I was helped when I was younger.

My vision for the project is to see the Kings Acre Hub brimming with young people daily. To create a safe space for young people from all walks of life to come to and just be. A place where young people are empowered to discover their God-given purposes and equipped to live them out. I want to encourage young people to experience new things, that will show them that nothing is beyond their grasp. For young people to understand God’s love for them, through their understanding of Jesus and his mission on earth.

Young people decorating

We’re showing through partnership; more young people can be reached, and adults can be better equipped to support their local communities. Those that wish to work with young people can be given opportunities to do so and be trained in the best practices for working with young people and acknowledge the deeply rooted Christian motivations behind effective youth work in community.’

This holistic nature doesn’t just impact the lives of young people, but challenges and changes the narratives in our community, to indicate we’re stronger together and we need each other to grow.

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