CAPTION: Young people enjoying a game of volleyball at Spree South West 2019

Youthwork gets a boost with new SWYM partnership

Posted: 25th September, 2019

The Church of England in Devon is increasing its investment in youth work in the county after signing-up to a new three year partnership with South West Youth Ministries (SWYM).

The organisation places trainee children and youth workers with churches, local ministries and school projects throughout the region.

It also resources local churches with training events, residential trips and provides leadership development opportunities for young people.

SWYM, alongside Urban Saints, also runs the Spree weekend camp for 8-17 year olds held annually in Devon.

Around 1400 children and young people from across the UK attended Spree 2019 at Exeter’s Westpoint Arena.

Paul Friend, Director of SWYM, said: “After working closely with the Diocese of Exeter over many years we are excited to formalise a partnership that opens up the chance for churches and individuals to access training and support in churches right across Devon.”

One of the key aims of the Diocese of Exeter is to engage better with children, young people and their families.

Rev’d James Grier, the new Mission Enabler for the diocese, said: “At a time when professional youth work and training are under pressure, we are incredibly fortunate to have SWYM based in Devon.

“The organisation is at the forefront of training and supporting youth and children’s workers.

“They are national experts in the field and I couldn’t imagine a better partnership to support and expand our youth work in the diocese.”

SWYM has been operating in Devon for over 20 years and currently has more than 50 trainees across the South West.

As part of the new partnership the diocese will be able to access training for volunteers and paid children and youth workers.

It is also looking at using SWYM as a route for young people exploring their own vocation into Christian ministry.

Rev’d Philip Sourbut, who leads the diocese Mission and Ministry team, said: “I am delighted that the Diocese of Exeter will be working in close partnership with our friends at SWYM and gaining from their enormous experience of working with young people across the South West.”