Stories from our diocese
You are here
Home > News
Preventing youth violence in Coventry
03/02/20

Churches and other places of worship across Coventry are working together to provide young people with safe places to go after school hours. This article outlines two examples of the work currently underway.

The ‘Places of Peace’ (POP) project is an initiative of the Bishop of Coventry’s Office and a pilot is being funded by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). The VRU is a new body which sees a wide range of organisations come together to tackle violence.

The POP project will take place in local places of worship but will be accessible to young people of all faiths and none. At a POP venue, young people will be given opportunities to engage in activities, games, personal development workshops, quality mentoring, positive social action in their local community, and to enjoy an evening meal.

The project will be piloted in two venues in the Foleshill neighbourhood of Coventry, but it is hoped the project will secure additional funding to expand further in partnership with other places of worship across the city.

The pilot is due to begin on Thursday 6th February at St. Paul's Church, with a nearby Gurdwara joining it shortly after. The venues will be staffed by professional youth workers from YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire, between the hours of 4:30-6:30pm, 2 days a week.

The Revd Ali Hogger Gadsby, Vicar of St Paul’s, Foleshill said;

“At St Paul’s providing a place of peace for our community has long been part of our calling, and we are really excited to be opening our doors for young people to find safety, friendship, fun and focus in these challenging times.”

The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Ashley Bertie said:

“I’m really pleased to see people of faith stepping up to do their bit to keep Coventry’s young people safe.

“We know that after the end of the school day the risk to young people rises and the lack of supervision can lead to anti-social behaviour or even violence.

“I’ll be watching this initiative very closely, but I expect it to have a positive impact on the area.”

Another exciting project will take place at St. Mark’s Church in Coventry’s Swanswell Park, which has utilised a separate source of funding in order to open a safe space from March. 

The St. Mark’s Youth Hub is a partnership project with Relational Hub, a national organisation which seeks to bring long-term, sustainable transformation to communities by empowering churches to create after school drop-in sessions for young people, especially those from the most difficult backgrounds. Relational Hub uses a proven model of youth and community work, with over a decade of supporting young people from disadvantaged communities.

The St. Mark's Youth Hub will focus on helping young people to develop socially, emotionally and spiritually, by providing a "home away from home" based on the four key principles of hospitality, consistency, opportunity, and sustainability.

If you would like additional information about the POP pilot, or if you are interested in the idea of hosting a POP safe space in your own church or place of worship, please contact Fred Kratt, the Bishop's Research Assistant, at fred.kratt@bishop-coventry.org. For more information about the St. Mark’s Youth Hub, please contact Matt Spina via matt.spina@stmarkscoventry.org