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In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, recently established youth work project ‘Places of Peace’ (POP) has gone online as a virtual youth club to help support young people who are self-isolating during this difficult time.
Earlier this year, Bishop Christopher launched a new youth work project called ‘Places of Peace’ (or POP, for short!) at two venues in Foleshill, Coventry. The POP project works with places of worship to provide young people with a local space where they can socialise and develop in safety after school hours.
A collaboration between the Diocese of Coventry and YCMA Coventry and Warwickshire (part of YMCA Heart of England), POP’s primary aims are to support, encourage and embolden young people to be active members of their local communities and, together with partners, help to reduce levels of youth violence in Coventry. POP organisers are grateful to their funders, the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), and to other community and statutory partners, including Coventry City Council, for their support.
POP youth clubs are free and open to all young people (particularly suited to ages 10-14) and whilst they are hosted in local places of worship, they do not have religious content. From March 2020, POP was being delivered twice weekly from St. Paul’s parish church and a nearby Sikh temple, both venues in the diverse community of Foleshill. Unfortunately, however, POP like many other youth clubs in Coventry, had to close as the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in mid-March.
Over recent weeks POP organisers have been working hard to turn POP into ‘POP Online’, a virtual youth club welcoming young people from across Coventry. POP Online is an hour-long weekly provision, led by the YMCA’s professional youth workers, where young people can socialise in a safe online community and get involved in games, quizzes, craft, competitions and more. POP Online has now been running for three weeks and has been well received. However, there is capacity and potential to do much more!
POP organisers would like to increase the number of sessions per week, creating more space for more young people to sign up and enjoy what POP Online has to offer.
If you are a young person or if you know a young person who may be interested, signing up to POP Online is simple. Text your name and age to 07733 545080 or email [email protected] and a youth leader will be in touch!
Post-lock down plans are currently in development but it is likely that POP will continue as a virtual youth club, whilst also gradually reintroducing face-to-face youth club provision.
If you have any general enquires about the POP project, please contact Fred Kratt, the Bishop’s Research Assistant at [email protected].