Review of 2017 by John Trend
Welcome to Oxygen's Blog
Welcome to the review of 2017! I hope you have had a great christmas and are looking forward to 2018. We are in reflective mood here at Oxygen and as we look back over the year we realise just how much has happened! Here is a brief snapshot of the 2017!
We always start the year as a Team with the YFC Conference in Manchester and then at the beginning of February, I visited Romania with Pastor Julian in preparation for our summer mission. Congratulations to Rory and Hannah who got engaged in February.
April was a busy month. We delivered the “What’s the Point?” knife crime
awareness curriculum day to 100 students at Southborough School. It was
great to see young people doing something to address such a challenging
issue and be an example to their peers! Congratulations to Adam and Sara
on the arrival of their second daughter, Elsie in April. (Harraghhh!) We also
had a fantastic American Evening at Christ church New Malden organised
by Robyn and a brilliant response to our fundraising appeal in April – Thank
you to all those who faithfully, and generously donated to Oxygen. I was
amazed, (as were many others!) to be able to cross the finishing line of the
Virgin London Marathon with a semi-respectable time of 4hours, 47 minutes. Thank you so much for all the encouragement and donations.
More congratulations, this time to Analice and Simon on the arrival of the wonderful Noah in May; a real answer to prayer! We were pleased to have Emma join the team to cover Analice’s maternity leave.
We held our AGM at Christ Church New Malden in June where we recognised Marcus with an award for the young person who has made an outstanding contribution to the community.
The Trip to Romanian at the end of July was a blessing to all who were involved and helped to progress the building of a youth centre in Campina.
Oxygen continues to see the fruits of its matchmaking
and we were delighted for Nathan (one of Oxygen’s
trustees) and Anna on the arrival of baby Emily in
August. Biggest grin on face book Nathan! One of
the best God moments was when Sue Shaw was
asked by The Ascension Trust to go to support the
Street Pastors in Antigua! Sue arrived a couple of
days before hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and
was able to help coordinate relief for those who lost
their homes. Talk about being in the right place at
the right time! We also said goodbye to Zainab who
worked with Oxygen for three years, first as a volunteer then as a paid youth worker. Zainab has gone on to develop her career working with disadvantaged children. Robyn, our Time for God volunteer went back to Seattle after completing her time with Oxygen and has also got a job working with young people in her local YMCA. Frankie also moved on in July after having a great impact upon the team and particularly delivering the knife crime awareness project.
However, amongst the high points we did have some lows and we were particularly sad to say goodbye to Alan Dean who passed away in September. Alan gave so much of his time to help others in our community, serving as a councillor, an active member at St. Paul’s Church, Hook and as passionate advocate for those who struggle in life. This led him to train as a Street Pastor and serve on the management team for the project for several years. Alan’s memorial service was a very colourful event and such a brilliant testimony to his life.
Joining the Oxygen Team in September was: Eileen, our second Time for God volunteer; Dan, our design guru; and Troy who we welcomed back after his gap year with Youth for Christ. We were also pleased to welcome Brenda, a great find as our Street Pastors Administrator, who supports Charlie who is doing a fantastic job coordinating the project. Another great addition was Margaret Thompson who joined the Street Pastors management Team. Oxygen’s stand at the Fresher’s fayer in September enabled several local churches to join with us to welcome new students to the borough. Offering free popcorn is a great way to start a conversation with students and help them feel welcomed to Kingston!
Oxygen and Man and Boy, which started as an Oxygen
project, were both nominated for the best charity in the
Kingston Business Excellence Awards held at Raven’s Ait.
The event was a real celebration of what is great about
Kingston upon Thames and we were pleased to receive a
Commendation for Oxygen and delighted to see Man and
Boy receive the highest recognition as Best Charity!
One of my long held aspirations to
run Kingsnympton Youth Centre was
realised in November when we
finally started delivering the youth
work on the Kingsnympton Park
Estate in partnership with the YMCA.
We want to express our thanks to the
YMCA, particularly Barnabas and
Richard, for all their work to secure
the contract for Dickerage, Kingsnympton and Hampton Youth Centres. We were privileged to welcome the Mayor, Councillor Julie Pickering, many of our local supporting churches, parents and members of the community, to a packed launch event in December. Young people had a go on the climbing wall and enjoyed some fantastic food which was provided by members of the Korean Church at St Peters. A big thank you! Rory is leading the project and doing a great job of developing engagement with the community.
December saw us secure a significant bid to develop a borough wide conference as part of “What’s the Point?” our knife crime awareness project, led by Adam. The week before Christmas, the second of my key strategic aspirations for Oxygen also begin to take shape and I agreed Heads of Terms on premises where we aim to establish an Oxygen shop. Whilst this is a huge step of faith, it is one which I can see having a significant impact upon Oxygen’s ability to generate sustainable funding, engage our supporters and the local community and benefit even more disadvantaged and marginalised young people with whom we work.
2017 has been challenging at times but also a very exciting year, where
we have seen many of our prayers answered and the achievement of one,
possibly two of our long term goals. I am incredibly grateful to the
fantastic Oxygen team for all the hard work, commitment and expertise
through which they engage with young people. I would also like to
thank the Oxygen Trustees for their efforts, often late into the night,
their wisdom and encouragement.
And finally a big thank you to you, our supporters, sponsors, donors and partners who demonstrate your belief in what Oxygen is doing to help young people by giving your money, time and prayers. Please keep going so that we can continue to faithfully reach out to young people and show that we believe in them and can help them make a difference in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
By doing this I hope that Oxygen is able to play a role in developing young people’s lives, showing them our Christian faith and helping them to experience God’s love.