CHURCH HOUSE, BRIDGETON

CHURCH HOUSE, BRIDGETON
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CHURCH HOUSE

At our Gift service in December, we were treated to an inspirational speech by Angela from Church House (one of the recipients of our gifts) telling us about Church House and the work it does. If you were unlucky to miss it, please turn the page for a brief résumé about their work.

CHURCH HOUSE, BRIDGETON

Church House, Bridgeton was set up in 1942 in the former London Road East Church in Boden Street by the local parish minister in response to the poverty and deprivation in the area and the lack of opportunities for young people. For over 76 years Church House has sought to build positive relationships with the children and young people in the surrounding area, providing facilities, activities and opportunities to help enable the staff and volunteers to get alongside and encourage the young members to grow and develop, at their own pace, into young adults.
In 2014, following a detailed review of the work of Church House and an assessment of the needs within the local area, it was agreed to develop Church House into an Integrated Family Support Centre that will deliver support to children, young people and their families. Following a successful RCGF bid, Church House moved into a new purpose built family support centre that is connected physically to Bridgeton, St. Francis-in-the-East Church of Scotland in July 2016 from where it continues to develop into an Integrated Family Support Centre.

Church House exists to help children, young people and families in Bridgeton and surrounding areas of Glasgow to find fullness of life (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially) through recreational activities and informal education. It has been in the community for over 76 years working alongside children, young people and families.
Our warm and welcoming purpose built Family Support Centre is open seven days per week and provides an outward looking and inclusive service conducted in a safe environment, reflecting and developing the original ethos of Church House.

At the heart of all of the work Church House does with young people and their families is the development of lasting positive relationships. These relationships are developed through honest conversations, shared experiences and of course the odd cup of tea! Over the past few years, our service has developed to be open seven days per week delivering 25 group sessions per week. Ranging from age specific youth groups from primary one through to S3 where the young people take part in a range of activities including cooking, sports, drama, art and informal education among others. We also deliver the duke of Edinburgh award, parent and toddlers groups, a family group on a Saturday night, and PALS group for those who have retired among many other groups. We also run a Saturday night drop in youth space providing young people with a safe place to socialise at the weekend in place of hanging around the streets.
Here at Church House we are huge fans of the outdoors and one of the key aims of our project is to provide young people with new positive experiences and in order to do this we believe that outdoor activities are incredibly valuable. It is clear that experience of the outdoors and outdoor activities has the potential to confer a multitude of benefits on young people’s physical development, emotional development as well as improving social skills. The young people we work with in the last year have taken part in a wide range of outdoor activities including skiing, wakeboarding, climbing, abseiling, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, white-water rafting and hill walking among many others. All of these activities challenge the young people and help develop their confidence, resilience and team work skills as they work together in order to achieve success.

These outdoor activities are regularly included in our residential programme. In 2018, we ran 10 ‘residentials’ for young people ranging in length from 1 to 4 night trips. Residentials are incredibly valuable to the work we do and provide incredible experiences and memories for the young people who take part. On residential the young people are encouraged to take on varying levels of responsibility for themselves depending on their age and this helps them to develop their independence.

Church House is run by a small staff team of two full time members of staff and three part time members of staff who are only able to deliver such a wide-ranging programme of activities thanks to the fantastic team of volunteers who support our work. The staff and volunteer team are incredibly passionate about working alongside young people and their families to achieve positive outcomes and it is this passion that makes Churchy such a joyful place for everyone to be involved in.

Our volunteer team are already inspiring the next generation of Church House leaders with over 11 young people aged 16 – 18 now volunteering to support our work as part of their Duke of Edinburgh and CARITAS awards. We also have a young leaders group made up of 8 young people aged 11 – 13 who are learning the skills needed to be youth workers of the future and are again supporting the work that Church House delivers. These young leaders are fantastic role models to the other young people who attend Churchy and will continue to develop their own skills whilst supporting others in doing the same.

2019 promises to be another exciting year as we continue to run our range of activities whilst developing our family support service. We have recently appointed a new Health and Wellbeing youth worker and we look forward to seeing how this new member of staff develops the service we offer so as we can provide the best support possible to young people and their families. We also have the exciting prospect of a group of young people taking part in a trip to Paris, the young people have been fundraising for over a year to take part in this and it promises to be a fantastic and memorable experience for all involved.

Church House continues to receive great support from the Church of Scotland and the congregations of various Churches from across the country. We hugely appreciate this support and thank those who have donated funds and prayed in support of our work.

If you would like any further information about Church House, please email: info@churchhouse.plus.com

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