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- Engaging, Identifying and Investing in the Lives of Young People -

Spring 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter!

Hello from everyone at team gap*,
we hope you are all keeping well and we are excited to welcome you to our Spring 2021 newsletter, which will give you an insight into all the on-goings of everything gap* has been up to. We are forever changing and adapting month to month, and sometimes week to week, as we endeavor to follow guidelines, restrictions and keep everyone safe. However, we are so thankful we have been sustained and provided for so we can keep working to help the lives of young people in and around the Sutton Coldfield community. The gap* is still going strong and working behind the scenes as it has always been. 
A big shoutout to everyone who supports us through volunteering, fundraising, praying, liking and sharing our social media posts... you all help us fly The gap* flag!

In this newsletter you'll be brought up-to-date with our main projects VENUE and HeadSpace, also find out about our new project Gap* Gaming, be introduced to super Kevin and everything else gapsville.


Blessings,
Zabrina, Laura and Andrew
VENUE is finally back up and running! When this newsletter goes to press we will be back in the building, but whilst writing this (for the last few weeks) we have been open on the car park. Face-to-face youth work is back and we couldn't be happier! We have reconnected with lots of the young people we were regularly seeing pre-pandemic. It has been great to find out what they have been up to and their future plans. Enjoy these photos from some of the sessions...

(Young people without masks are in bubbles together).

As the majority of our social interaction with young people was virtual through platforms such as Zoom, telephone calls, WhatsApp and so on, the gap* has been exploring the possibility of online gaming. We were all missing the healthy competitiveness of the pool table, basket ball and air hockey games that the drop-in VENUE had to offer prior to lockdown. As well the natural conversations that would happen via those activities. 



After some intense research we discovered online gaming and realised it could fill the gap until we could get back to ‘in person’ socialising. Thanks to the mega youth work partners at Urban Devotions Birmingham (UDB), Andrew, Laura and Joe were able to join the online gaming community to see what it's all about. 

Firstly, the team had to actually learn how to ‘game’! Whilst Laura is still getting there, Andrew left us wondering whether he has secretly always been a gamer and Joe (being the pro that he is), needed little to no help, so he is there to let Laura know which button to press to ‘jump’. 

So we came, consoles in hand, headsets positioned, and signed up to Fortnite (adults, ask your kids!), ready to be thrashed by a host of under 18’s!

The team at UDB were so accommodating and the young people have been a joy to game with. There was much laughter (a lot of laughter actually), and fruitful team discussions. The game involved us working in groups, against each other and as a whole team. The amazing thing was because we all had headsets with a microphone attached, even though we were all scattered around Birmingham, we connected through this game and could talk like we were all in the same room. During the gaming sessions you could feel the energy of the teams... especially when they were winning. 

This format worked for a number of weeks, but then sadly UDB needed to move their gaming days. So the gap* felt it was time to go solo and start the venture ourselves. Games now take place every Monday evening with a small group, which we hope will steadily grow. We are soooo thankful for technology like this that helps support the youth work we do.

Now, when we get back into the VENUE drop-in, there is the danger that the youth workers will be hogging the X-Box and it seems pretty certain the team would be able to add ‘semi-pro gamer’ to their CVs.

______________________________

Here's what two of our young people had to say:

Why do you game with us?
- because I enjoy it and it gives me something to look forward to.
- I do it because it's something to do and I like that it's a small group and we all know each other.

What is your favourite thing about gaming?
- I get to chat to people and make friends.
- I can drive on the game and I can't drive in real life.

Rate Laura and Joe's gaming out of 10...
- Laura 5/10 and Joe 9/10
-Laura 10/10 and Joe a million out of 10

What's is your favourite thing about the online game Fortnite?
- Hanging out with my mates.
- All the creative 'skins' the default person can wear... I've collected all of them.

How did you find out about gaming with The gap*?
- My mum told me to join because you guys told her about it.
- Zabrina told me when she visited me at school.
HeadSpace, our mental health project, continues to press ahead supporting our young people with their mental health and emotional well-being. During this third lockdown, we have continued to do weekly sessions with a small handful of students from one of our schools via phone calls and zoom, as well as some of the young people from our drop-in. It has been a strange time for all of us, and many young people have struggled to study and learn from behind a computer screen at home! However, HeadSpace continues to offer a listening ear that allows young people to share and express how they are coping and dealing (or not, as the case may be for some) with everything going on around them.

Now has never been a more vital time for HeadSpace to exist. A safe, non-judgemental space for our young people to explore and make sense of the world they are living in and how they fit into it. Our young people need the space and time to explore and understand themselves and HeadSpace is right there for them!

If you know any young people who need someone to talk to, or who would benefit from some one-to-one support or mentoring, then please let them know about HeadSpace! Once more, if you have a heart for or passion to support young people then please get in touch to volunteer with us! 

Kevin's Charity Challenge

 
An amazing £6000 has been raised for the gap*, thanks to a fantastic feat of endurance from the UK Development Director of a Midlands property company, IM Properties.
 
Kevin Ashfield took on the "David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge"- running 4 miles, every 4 hours, for 48 hours! He joined a whole host of runners across the world who shared a common goal of promoting physical and mental health whilst supporting charities.
 
 “I was keen to support a charity that helps young people particularly with their mental health given how tough life can be for children, especially in the current climate.” said Kevin.
“I was aware of the the gap* from a previous grant donated to them for their HeadSpace project from our Peddimore Community Fund, which was set up as part of an extensive Social Value programme to support community groups surrounding our new Birmingham scheme.”

Kevin continues: “Everyone at IM Properties really got behind the fundraising and helped me achieve the challenge through virtual runs and messages of support. It was a real life-changing experience and exceeded all my expectations, raising way above my target."

“IM Properties then stepped in and rounded up the money raised to £6000. I’m so pleased for the gap* and look forward to visiting them soon to see how the money supports young people.”

Thanks Kevin! We’re looking forward to meeting you.

 
The gap* team discover...

The gap* team have recently embarked on a course of self discovery called ‘The Purpose Pursuit’ and feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity. 

SideKick is the project of Hannah Miller: https://www.hellosidekick.co/

A truly effective youth worker is one who is self-aware and this course is all about discovering and utilising that self-awareness. Exploring individual strengths and learning how to cultivate and use them to their fullest extent, Zabrina, Andrew, Laura and Lynda are working their way through the 10 week course and have already learnt a lot. We are excited to see how we flourish and grow, both individually and as a team. 

"See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
ISAIAH 43:19
A huge thank you to our funders!

The Grimmit Trust
The Good Enough Trust
The Lillie C Johnson Trust
IM Properties


 
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The gap* is a registered charity.
Charity Number: 1127347

 

The gap*
Our Place Support Hub,
Farthing Lane,
Sutton Coldfield,
Birmingham
B72 1RN

Call us: 07599 912670

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The gap* · Our Place Support Hub · Birmingham, Dby B72 1RN · United Kingdom

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