Thousands of youngsters put faith into action
Thousands of young Christians will be part of making the Big Society a concrete reality by putting their faith into action in local communities across Norfolk next week. Keith Morris reports.
As the Newday youth event returns to the Norfolk Showground for its third year (from August 1 to 6), many of the delegates aged between 12-19 will enthusiastically sign up to one of the 25 social action initiatives around the city and throughout Norfolk.
Over 6000 young people from across the UK, and some from as far as Kenya, Turkey, Italy and Sweden, will be taking part in the Christian youth event which has had a great impact in previous years.
Last year in Catton (Norwich) alone over 1000 young people cleared gardens and painted fences. This year, as well as returning to Catton there are projects in Mile Cross, Hellesdon, Norwich city centre, Poringland, Attleborough and Great Yarmouth. Over the course of the week over 3000 young people will be putting their faith into action, fence painting, clearing gardens, supporting local fun days and sports events for all ages.
Sue Browne, Chair of the Catton Residents Association summed up the mood around the Catton community after Newday last year. “Despite the atrocious weather last year everyone was over the moon with the work that was done in Catton. Residents are now taking more pride in the area where they live and the young people gave them that incentive”
Toby Skipper from Kings Community Church Norwich is helping to organise the social action initiatives: “Although Newday isn’t politically motivated we see the social action projects as a great way to encourage people to make a real difference in their communities. The young people are voting with their feet and demonstrating that church has a key role to play in helping tackle local issues.”
Norwich North MP, CHloe Smith, said: "The New Day project is always impressive. To have thousands of youngsters volunteering to help out in north Norwich is valued and welcomed and they can achieve so much in their few days on the ground. I know that Catton and Mile Cross residents enjoy working alongside them and gain a lot in the community year-round from the project.
"It is an excellent example of the 'Big Society' in action: people volunteering their time and effort to make a difference in their community. This project is on a grand scale but the 'Big Society' is about anyone doing anything that they aren't obliged to, simply to help themselves and others."
Click here to read more about this year's Newday event on this website