10th August, 2012
2K Plus International Sports Media
While the world spotlight has fallen on Stratford – the site of the 2012 London Olympic Park – a group of people from Barbados have their sights set on Beckton, a new community at the end of the line.
“Our hope is that when we leave London, we will inspire people to invest in their youth and continue to build a sense of community.”
- Beverley Pinder, YWAM Barbados
They are from Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Barbados, an international organisation that trains and deploys Christian volunteers.
In Beckton, the group from Barbados has teamed up with XLP, a London-based youth charity that mentors young people at risk of falling into crime and gangs. The group is seconded to the Parish of St Marks where they are hosting a six-week programme of social and sports activities for the whole family to coincide with the Games.
Beverley Pinder, 40, from Barbados, says: “Our hope is that when we leave London, we will inspire people to invest in their youth and continue to build a sense of community.”
In a relatively new-build area which is highly ethnically diverse, the volunteers say they are helping create a sense of community within a community.
Matt Way, of XLP, adds: “Beckton is one of the newer areas of East London. There are certainly drawbacks here, like educational failure and a lack of good role models for the youth.
“There are a lot of drug problems, and it’s infamous for gang fighting. This can get messy when the gang culture collides with the family culture in the community. That’s why involving the whole family is key to our ministry. We want to impact the community as a whole.”
The Reverend Olusegun Balogun, parish priest for St Marks, who is originally from Nigeria, says the team is helping him realise his long-term vision.
“The community centre is underused as it is, so we’re exploring what activities are most popular and work best. This project certainly won’t stop with the closing of the Olympics.”
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