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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

25 October 2017: Jon Piper, Hope Church

The King’s Arms

I’ve been working at the King’s Arms youth centre for a few months. Having also worked in the centre over a decade ago, I find the development of the work that’s done there really exciting. Young people all over East Hampshire are being helped, served and encouraged in ways that I’d never have dreamed of in the past. The team are professional, innovative and enthusiastic about young people, driving forward some excellent work.

This is something of which Petersfield can be really proud.

Having said that, in recent years, every youth work provider has struggled in many ways. After Hampshire County Council’s budget reductions, fundraising is now an integral part of almost every piece of youth work provision in the county. As providers are usually small organisations, this takes time and energy that could be spent on development, innovation or on the young people themselves. This is not a complaint, but an observation of the consequences of austerity.

This reduction in funding for youth work is timely in all the wrong ways. Projects like The King’s Arms are all the more essential as the young people in our community struggle with more problems than ever before. The levels of mental health problems in adolescence are increasing dramatically and NHS help alone cannot meet all the requirements of young people.

As a Christian, I have a particular impetus to make sure that the young people in the area have the help they need. That’s because young people are my neighbours too. It is not that they will, at some point in the future, become my neighbours. Jesus did not say ‘Love your neighbour (aged between 25 and 65) as yourself.’

I’ll be running a marathon in the coming year to raise funds for The King’s Arms. My hope is that, as well as raising cash, I’ll be able to help my neighbours in the process.

 

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