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ınspıre :: OUTREACH

BARTON council housing estate is home to around 3,500 people, including a high proportion of young people in families on benefits. A third of households are single

parent, and young people growing up here are faced with Oxford’s worst score for education, skills and training. How can the Church reach young people growing up in these areas, where crime and family breakdown are common and three meals a day aren’t guaranteed?

to bring about change in their community. Jem first met Josh, 18, when he saw

some teenagers hanging around the shops, and asked them if they wanted to play football. His mum was an alcoholic for 27

years and his dad wasn’t around when he was a child. “I grew up with no-one to tell my

problems to,” Josh says. “When I was 12 I started smoking

and drinking, and getting into fights. By 14, I was beating people up for no

Bringing hope to Barton

In Oxford, the city of ‘dreaming spires’, a staggering one in four children lives in poverty. ROBIN PEAKE explains how Christian charity workers are literally moving in to help them

It’s a question that Thrive, an

initiative of the Christian charity Innovista, have set themselves the challenge of answering. Over the last few years, a Thrive Team

have taken the unusual step of not just helping young people from a deprived community, but choosing to live on the estate as well. “It means that we can see firsthand

the problems that young people here face,” says Jem Todd, Thrive’s Senior Youth Work Co-ordinator in Barton. “Living on the estate has given us

real credibility amongst the young people who are often the hardest to reach. We can better understand their context to help them experience hope and lasting change.” Since launching in 2010, Thrive have

built relationships with more than 100 young people from Barton estate, running a variety of projects designed to inspire, enable and support them


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