Staying alive for nine years

James Harvey, Children's and Young People's Work Development Officer in the north of the diocese of Newcastle
James Harvey, Children's and Young People's Work Development Officer in the north of the diocese of Newcastle
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A successful discovery project set up for youngsters by the Diocese of Newcastle is to continue this year under new leadership and is looking for new people to sign up.

Rev James Harvey, who was appointed the children’s and young people’s work development officer in the north of the diocese, has taken the reins of one of the biggest youth participation events in the whole of the North East.

Staying Alive was set up by Rev Simon White during his time at St Michael and All Angels Church, in Felton, along with others in the summer of 2007 and is aimed at young people in school years 8-13.

It started as a weekend of random acts of kindness, in which groups of children would head out into places like Seahouses and surrounding areas to help communities through litter-picking, coffee mornings, cleaning houses, gardening and so on.

The project was so popular over the years that the events grew to capacity at the Seahouses Hostel beside St Paul’s Church in North Sunderland.

This year, the event is themed ‘because you’re worth it,’ a slogan associated with cosmetics brand L’Oréal, the aim being that young people will be ableto understand and explore that everyone is worth something in the eyes of God, and runs from August 13 to 16.

Rev Harvey is now in charge and hopes to continue and grow the already great work that has been done in the community.

He said: “There’s plenty of kids around, but at the moment, we’ve got very few young people engaging with the church and that is part of what we’re looking to do in the future.

“Part of the vision is to grow the young people. I think young people sometimes go in cohorts or friendship groups and I think we need to build a new one from the bottom upwards. We’ve got healthy and thriving work with children going on and some of those are in middle school and that will be the formation of our new youth group.”

The weekend is open to youngsters from Northumberland and Newcastle.