A new Youth For Christ project is to be established in Crumlin. The project will aim to reach out to young people, wherever they might be, whether on a street corner or gathering in Crumlin Glen.
The Rector of Glenavy, the Rev John Rutter, said that the parish had been talking to members and leaders of other Crumlin churches about a Christian youth centre for the past two years.
John said: “It would support young people in their growth mentally, emotionally, physically, and as friendships and trust grow, young people would be told about Jesus’ invitation to come into their lives and walk through life together.”
Youth For Christ has various centres including Ballyclare, Donaghadee, Craigavon and Dromore
“The big difference is that Crumlin will not start off with a centre, a building. Instead it will start with a youth worker and volunteers,” John explained, adding that around 20 people had offered their help.
He said that teenagers and young people do have facilities in the area, including the Leisure Centre, youth clubs at Crumlin Integrated College and Crumlin Football and junior youth clubs at the Baptist and the Presbyterian churches, along with Glenavy parish’s Spark Saturday morning club.
“Youth For Christ’s experience is that there are many young people who don’t or won’t go to organised sessions, at least , not at the start,” John said.
“They roam, they find corners to meet in, they don’t concentrate. They may not have a healthy home life where parent and child talk; in any case, teens want to be out. It isn’t surprising that the ones who won’t do clubs are easy prey to drug dealers, or to doing damage to property. It’s the old adolescent thing of ‘doing it for a dare,’ or to show off to the group.”
It is proposed to start the project by erecting a cage football pitch in the town, which will hopefully draw a young crowd. Volunteers will get to know the young people and will interact with them wherever they are at.
John said there is a problem with anti-social behaviour in Crumlin, particularly in the main street on weekend nights, and in Crumlin Glen, although this has been reduced thanks to the PSNI and community safety officers.
“As this project will not have a centre to meet at, we will go out and meet these young people in their favourite spots,” he said.
“We are particularly pleased as we would not have the people to do this outreach work on our own, and others would not have the money to do it on their own. With Youth For Christ we can work together for the benefit of everyone in Crumlin.”
John is urging people to attend a meeting on Tuesday March 20 at the Leisure Centre to learn more about this project, which has the support of most of the churches in Crumlin town. Further information about the project can be downloaded HERE.
The meeting begins at 7.30pm.