A few weeks ago, the Urban Saints social media pages were full of reports of an Urban Saints' hoodie spotted on the local news. The subject in the report was Ben - a young person involved in a local Urban Saints Group. Ben caught the public eye because he has been developing his skills as an amateur blacksmith, including setting up an improvised forge at his family home.
Unusual though this is, it was his decision to wear his distinctive Urban Saints hoodie that caught our attention. Two of our team - Wilson and Pam - caught up with Ben recently to find out more. They also asked him about what lockdown has been like for him and what it has been like to recently take a junior leadership role with his Group...
US: Tell us about the BBC News story - why did you decide to wear your hoodie?
Ben: I made a whale bottle opener and shared it on social media. When that went viral the BBC got in touch to do a video for them. My parents and I decided that if I wore an Urban Saints hoodie, more people would see what Urban Saints are about or they might be reminded of the good times they had in Urban Saints. It could mean something to someone when they see it and with millions of people watching there was nothing to lose and everything to gain!
US: What does it mean to you to belong to your Urban Saints Group?
Ben: Knowing that I belong to such a great community of young people around me, lots of great friends that I have known for a long time and great supportive leaders too - helping me and others get through the hard times of life and the ups and downs of being a Christian. The sense of supportive community is so powerful.
US: What inspired you to become a leader?
Ben: Throughout my time in Urban Saints I have always imagined myself becoming a leader. There were loads of young leaders when I was in the Junior Group myself and I thought they were putting time aside, really enjoying it and I wanted to do the same. I thought it would be a great opportunity to help others the way that I had been helped when I was younger, get to know the lads more and help them out on their journey as a Christian and their journey growing up.
US: Why would you recommend volunteering with Urban Saints to a young person like you?
Ben: The opportunity it gives you and others around you is amazing, to grow in your skills as a volunteer, as well as knowing you're helping lots of young people to progress in their lives and their faith in God. It's also really inspiring seeing lots of other leaders doing the same - it's hard to miss out on!
It's currently Volunteers' Week (1st - 7th June) and you can hear from more of our fantastic volunteers on our social media channels. Find out more about the people who are making the vision of Urban Saints a reality and why they give their time - we are so grateful to them all!