I have changed to writing in this format as per advice from Russ Wood, see how it goes…
Closing one door is something really difficult, most of us love to get to the end of one job, look forward gleefully to handing in that notice letter to an employer, when the grass is greener on the other side, but though i look forward to something new in Ottery St Mary in less than two months, i also want to end well, and also feel as though i have been able to do the Sidewalk Project justice, in not only what we have done recently, over the last 5 years, but also in the last 5 weeks of my involvement and who knows what happens in the future.
So what i am in the process of doing is collating all the stories, feedback, messages of support, press clippings, interviews, case studies of all the work of the last 5 years, from all the perspectives, and be able to write up what is in effect the ‘Sidewalk Story’ call it a mark in the sand, where we got to, what we achieved, how detached youthwork enabled christians to engage with young people, empowered a church to get involved in its community, how young people could be supported to make positive decisions, how we trained students in detached youthwork, how crime stats reduced in areas of the town, how many many young people felt supported and had positive conversations with us, and us by being a presence helped, cared for and did something meaningful.
So today i interviewed two students who have worked on the project, both telling me about the situations that made sidewalk significant for them, but also where they could be significant to the young people. I am hoping to be able to make this story more widely known, it may even get published, to inspire others on a journey of engaging meaningfully, regularly and respectfully with their community and young people. I hope that in ending well, others start, rebirthing and creating something new from what we’ve done.