For Sponsors and Funders
Who We Are
We are a growing group of friends, dedicated to our faith, to one another and to the desire to see hope, life and joy return to our local community and across our nation.
We believe that ours can be a nation of thriving communities with hope filled young people creating a future where all can flourish. We are working to make that a reality.
Our Object as a Charity
What We Do
We base ourselves in local communities and work with churches, schools and other agencies to shift culture and provide the best opportunities for young people and communities to flourish. Grounded in local mission this way, we are able to support others across our region and the country as they work to see their young people and communities flourishing too.
We provide an experience of what grass roots mission, youth and community work is really like. Working in a smaller team means interns get to be a part of all every part of our work, from washing up to youth work programs.
We have learnt how to shift culture so lives are transformed – we’re excited to show you how. Our training and resources come from a culmination of 60 years at the coalface of youth and community work, and mission.
Each local team enjoys rhythms of shared life together; working, praying, eating, learning and planning together. As a national team we ‘meet’ every two months for at least a day of fellowship, equipping and planning for the season ahead.
The Impact We Have Had
We have learnt how to transform the social atmosphere, the culture in a place. We’re here to show others how they can do the same; make the settings and groups they are a part of happier, healthier places for everyone…. and here’s what we’ve seen so far…
Culture Change in Schools
For a few years, we have worked intensively with our local Secondary School investing about 40 hours a week in students who are at risk of permanent exclusion. This has been an incredibly rewarding period during which we have made a significant difference in both staff and young people’s lives and seen first-hand what life is like for many households and teenagers in our community.
We implemented a new reward and sanction procedure that led to a more affirming culture and reduced conflict between staff and students.
We delivered training in Restorative Practices for staff and support team at the Alternative Provision Unit, which helped to support the new culture that was developing.
6 out of 8 Year 10 and 11 students completed a Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Training, Employment and Personal Development. 2 of whom were offered apprenticeships with the local council.
We worked closely with approximately 20 students from Year 7 through to Year 11. This was done by providing one on one support as well as delivering classes and small group sessions on subjects such as bullying, anger management and restorative practice in dealing with conflict.
We supported teachers and TAs through practical classroom help, debriefing and collaborating to create management plans for students.
In the year 2018/19 153 young people had regular contact with us through an average of 92hours per month of youth work (not just schools work in Reading).
Making a Difference in the Community
The Dealing With Depression Course provides a service to both those who suffer with depression and those who care for them. Participants who have completed the course have gone on to get more involved in the community, helping with SYC and other local organisations. Our Community Dinners have sprung out of the DWD course as a place where those who struggle with isolation can gather at the local pub on the last Friday of each month, to share a meal and connect with others in a safe environment.
The Families Course has had parents and grandparents, and aunties participating, thus serving to link members of the community across generations. We run the course at a local primary school making it accessible to parents whose children attend the school and impacting the school community. The name of the course has circumvented stigma to do with classical parenting courses and means that some families have been reached who perhaps would not otherwise be helped.
The South Reading Fun Day is attended by 4000-6000 members of the community. It is one of the few if not the only community event that is attended by entire families from all corners of Whitley and South Reading. Some have reported how they have had historical feuds resolved as a result of connecting at one of these Fun Days. Others comment how they just love to come and connect with their neighbours, whilst still others are amazed to meet near neighbours for the first time. The Fun Days and Street Parties are very practical ways in which the community can come together to make, build and repair connections.
In 2018/19 we ran 5 festivals and street parties attended by 1098 people.
Our Partners in the Work
We have had the privilege of working in genuine partnership with a number of organisations and their representatives as we carry out our youth work and community work in our various locations. Here are a few of those:
Reading Borough Council: The Parks and Green Spaces team have made our Re:Start Program with students at risk of exclusion possible. Two of their team join us each day of the program to teach the students horticulture skills and familiarise them with what it might mean to become and apprentice with them. This partnership in turn put RBC in the running for gold in the Britain in Bloom national contest… which we are glad to say they achieved. The Neighbourhood Initiatives Officers from the Council have been exceptional colleagues and friends from the day we moved to South Reading; introducing us to relevant networks, advising us on processes and helping us access funding and support. They in turn made use of our research report to inform their strategy in the area for 2 or 3 years.
The Alternative Provision Unit at our local Secondary School in South Reading. The staff here invited us to support them in their work with students at risk of exclusion. We joined their team and enjoyed a great partnership sharing skills, knowledge and support each day on the unit.
Reach: This is a Reading-based Schools Work charity that has partnered with us in our work with students at risk of exclusion in the local Secondary School. From the school’s perspective we are one team; in fact the team going into the school is made up of both SYC and Reach staff and volunteers. The partnership provides high levels of support, shared knowledge and shared networks.
Chapter 2: A local charity that works to mentor boys growing up without a father-figure. The founder of this charity has been a youth work mentor on the Re:start team with us, doing great work with our students.
Reading Voluntary Action: Through this organisation, we have recruited two of our administrators and all our bookkeepers to date! Our Street Parties Manual has been a resource to them as they support and encourage community members across Reading to run Street Parties where they live. This partnership continues to grow in encouraging ways.
The South Reading Churches: This is the group of churches that initially invited SYC to base ourselves in South Reading. We partner with them in local community work including the events like the South Reading Churches Fun Day.
The Parish of St. Agnes, St. Paul and St. Barnabas: The Anglican churches in the parish have been proud partners of our work. They took the lead in inviting SYC to relocate to South Reading and assist with local youth and community mission; they have been faithful and generous financial supporters of our work. They continue to be energetic in their commitment to local mission in partnership with us.
Tyndale Baptist Church: We have our office in their building and pay a reduced rent; but they are incredibly generous permitting us to utilise their premises at no extra cost for courses and events that we run.
Reading Lion’s Club: We are very grateful to the Lion’s Club who have helped to fund our Re:Start program and our Festival Trailer.
Springboard: A Reading-based grant making trust that has supported our Re:Start program for 2 years.
Making a Difference in Individuals' Lives
In 2018/19 258 kids had regular contact with us through an average of 14hours per month of kids work.
6 students from the local Secondary School, received a Level 1 qualification and the option of positive references from Reading Borough Council, even though they may not have achieved any GCSEs of grade C or higher.
2 of our volunteer administrators have commenced paid employment as a result of our recommendation and in one case as a result of positive mentoring received from us has built up self esteem, confidence and skill.
Our interns have each engaged in a rigorous journey of personal growth and discipleship which has enabled them to intentionally adopt new values which have impacted their decision making processes.
All those who attended our Families course said they felt more confident in their parenting by the end of the course. A quote from one parent: “The most important thing about this course was learning new skills to use at home and seeing my family differently.”
Feedback from our Dealing With Depression course include: “Reintegrating into society with fellow sufferers has helped me to make the first step out of my self-made cocoon.” “I can now make better choices!” “This course has helped me see that there is hope, and there is light at the end of the tunnel”
Releasing in Mission
In 2018/19 256 people including families and local councils participated in our training events, courses and conferences of which we held 13.
A reflection from one of our interns: “This internship has taught me so much and I have really learned how to press into a more intentional prayer life. I have also seen what it really means to live in community and to help equip believers and non-believers to reach their full potential as God created it to be.”
We run our Foundations for Personal, Community and Cultural Transformation every spring in Reading and in Albania or Greece every year in August. A participant recently shared: “I think through this course, God is giving me the tools to communicate more effectively to people about Jesus & help His Kingdom grow.”
Each summer, we run holiday kids clubs in a number of the communities where we operate. These cater for primary school aged kids, however we always have a band of teenagers who are part of the team helping to run small groups, craft activities, dramas and story telling. We mentor these teens in leadership and in how to care for those around them.
A number of people we work with have been introduced to Street Parties as a way to bring their neighbours together and build a stronger sense of community over time. We have a festival trailer which community members can borrow and we are often available to support either first timers or groups whose street parties have grown particularly well.
Church at the Heart of the Community
In South Reading, the local church leaders commissioned SYC to work with them to develop and coordinate a Joint Mission Strategy for reaching the teenagers in the community and the families of young kids.
For more than 10 years, the churches in South Reading have organised an annual summer fun day in Whitley with our support. This event is loved by the local community and brings into focus the many ways in which the local churches are a blessing in Whitley.
In communities across the country, we have helped churches come together across denominational divides to put on Fun Days and Street Parties. These gather the whole community together and encourage people to connect with each other, in the long term they help build a healthy culture and social cohesion in the community. This becomes a strong platform on which churches can build further community work and mission.
SYC In Numbers
We’ve shared some of the stories, now here is what they look like in numbers…
Examined Accounts for 2019-2020
Full Financial Statements
The SYC Development Plan
We’re working intentionally to grow SYC into a sustainable multi-site organisation that is achieving all its goals and charitable objects effectively; impacting young people and their communities across the UK whilst growing a thriving long term staff team.
Social Enterprise - starting now...
This is SYC’s first social enterprise. It marks the start of a new era where social enterprise becomes a core mode of the organisation’s operation and income generation. The aim is that all SYC’s social enterprises are simultaneously carrying out our charitable objects and mission whilst generating income for the broader work of the organisation. Income generated by SYC Coaching will go to support the youth work, community work and other missional activities of the organisation.
Geographical Expansion - taking shape 3-5 years from now
We’re ready to grow… this is what we are aiming for:
- SYC Reading – we will have a permanent team here tasked with maintaining and expanding the work from South Reading to across Reading.
- SYC The Haven – this will be our national base consisting of Social Enterprises, Youth and Community work, Training, and Restorative ministry: a Conference Centre (generating income and training young people in hospitality), a Vocational Training Centre, a mini ‘Covent Garden’, a Retreat Centre and Staff Residences.
- SYC Regional Reps – these are paid staff who serve in a particular location to network and assist church and community leaders to access and make use of SYC’s services. Their aim will be to establish a local team of paid staff serving the broad area as well as delivering SYC’s model of youth and community work alongside our local partners.
Staff Salaries - starting now...
By moving to a model where all staff are salaried (rather than benign self supported volunteers), SYC will become sustainable and have more long term impact in its mission as staff retention rises significantly. This money will be generated (initially) from investors, grant making trusts and specific fundraisers.
Our targets: £116,000 for the first year. £175,000 for the 2nd year and £240,000 for the 3rd year.
Strategic Staff Appointments - starting now...
We will be appointing the following new staff:
- an Executive Assistant to release the CEO to provide coaching to leaders and executives (SYC Coaching Social Enterprise).
- A Business Developer who will secure investments and
- Develop SYC Coaching into a successful enterprise
- Raise funds for staff salaries
- Work towards the establishment of The Haven.
- A Youth Work Lead who will
- Develop the youth work in South Reading and beyond
- Recruit and grow a youth team made up of paid staff and volunteers
- Provide training and inspiration to other churches and organisations wanting to implement SYC’s systemic community youth work model.
- A Families and Community work Lead who will
- Develop SYC’s Families ministry serving across Reading (not just South Reading)
- Develop SYC’s Community Work in South Reading and beyond.
- Recruit and grow a team of families and community workers – both paid staff and volunteers.
- Provide training and inspiration to other churches and organisations wanting to develop effective families and community work models.
- A Finance Administrator
- An Administrator who will work with the EA, Finance Administrator and Business Developer for the effective administration of SYC and support of our operational team.
What is The Haven?
The Haven will be our national HQ: it will include an income generating conference and training centre where young people can obtain vocational qualifications in areas such as Hospitality, Catering, Baristry, Radio Broadcasting and Horticulture. Additionally, there will be space for small businesses and artisans (think mini Covent Garden), a retreat centre and separate accommodation for SYC staff and teams, as well as artists and pastors ‘in residence’.
Our Local Youth and Community Work
In South Reading, we plan to divide our youth work between the Secondary School and after school programs so we can have even greater, long term impact in the lives of these young people and others like them in our community.
You will have seen much in the news about County Lines drug runs. Young people are most likely to be recruited for this ‘work’ between the school gate and home front door; those who are most at risk have chaotic home lives and are at best unhappy at school; at worst, excluded. Many young people in our community are prime targets for recruiters and risks have increased during Covid lockdown, so we want to respond further to this need.
- We are training sixth formers to be mentors for younger students who are at risk of isolation, unhealthy relationships or exclusion, and those whose home life makes normal functioning a challenge.
- We are starting after school programs for young people engaging particularly with those who avoid going home and those who are not in school.
We are raising funds for a Youth Café Bus as a mobile base for our after schools program.
In South Reading, SYC’s particular focus is to support Fun Days and street parties, and to run parenting and dealing with depression courses. Through all these things we hope to equip individuals to adopt healthy values and shape the culture around them.
For more than 10 years, the churches in South Reading have organised an annual summer fun day in Whitley.
In 2020 and 2021 SYC stepped up to coordinate a Covid safe Funday Out the Front with everyone connected via a local radio station – it was an amazing success you can read about it in the news section of our webiste.
This year we have set up a community online radio station (with a view to progressing to digital broadcasting) that will have broadcasters from the local high school and community; this will help us to continue running covid safe community events which engage even more members of the community than before.
We are excited to recruit more community volunteers and deliver more training, so that church and non-church volunteers are even more equipped to shape healthy culture not just on the day but also in their own homes and streets.
We have plans to build a team of trained community members who can help deliver the Families Course. We also will continue to deliver the Dealing with Depression Course which is receiving referrals from other support services in the community.
Professionalism and Transparency
Staff and Trustees
We have recently transferred from Sage software to Xero on line software which means that all relevant members of staff and Trustees will be able to view our finances at any given time. We are in the process of updating our Financial Policies to reflect some of these changes.
Get in touch
For more information on how we can work with you please get in touch