Safe Spaces for young people are vital

4th May 2023

Tonight, 7 of the Urban Saints members of Girls Hangout and Thornton Hangout ventured to a local community centre that was hosting 'Blood's Thicker', a short, hard-hitting play about the dangers of carrying a knife produced by The Unit in partnership with Breaking the Cycle, funded by Bradford Council.

Our evening was eventful, as we also made a stop to see the knife angel sculpture which has been located in Bradford for the last few weeks to raise awareness of the lives lost to knives being used in communities resulting in hundreds of deaths.

We walked into the community centre and anxiety set in for a few of our young people due to the other young people they ended up seeing. Two weeks prior, two of the girls who attend Girls Hangout had been threatened in an attempt at being 'jumped' and slurring all over Snapchat and Socials by two other girls with a bigger gang.

Fear set in, nausea and a need for a safe space was required. After a calming and reassuring chat, the young person who has been connected to Girls Hangout for nearly two years came back in the community centre and sat with us as leaders and her 'gang' of friends, despite the anxiety.

The complexity of the young people's lives and the need for accessibility to a safe space hit home more so than ever tonight. It is vital that as Urban Saints groups we create healthy, fun and faith-filled safe spaces with young people so they can thrive and enjoy a little oasis in the midst of the storm of teenage life in their schools and communities. It is repeatedly said that our Urban Saints groups is the 'only place I can be myself', 'the one place I don't get bullied', 'a place for me away from my siblings' , 'a place I know I am loved!'

Never give up on the opportunity of developing a group where young people can be supported to build resilience and ambitious lives, facing the realities of life but sharing the impact of what living their lives can count for into eternity too.

Pam Kershaw

Urban Saints North Lead


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