Martin grew up attending LYP projects, and after many years of being actively involved in our work, is now employed as one of our youth workers. Read on to find out about Martin’s journey…
Martin grew up in North Leatherhead, living with Mum and two younger siblings. He began attending our BFree Youth Cafe project aged 11, and became a regular visitor 5 days a week. Soon after, Martin came to Freestyle, our 4 day residential camp which gives young people an action packed time away during the Easter Holidays.
Several years later, the BLAZE project started, which gave teenage boys the chance to enjoy trips and leisure outings and boys nights. Martin and his friends became an integral part of BLAZE, and he soon became one of the 4 ‘BLAZE team’ members who helped to plan and coordinate the project – aged just 14! The boys wanted to start doing something to benefit the community, and they began helping local elderly residents with gardening, particularly those who had overgrown gardens which needed substantial clearing.
Martin continued to be a part of many LYP projects, including Total Football, BFree and Freestyle. In 2010, Martin helped launch North Leatherhead United Football Club – an 11-a-side football team which provided competitive football at a very low cost. Martin captained the team for 2 seasons, and progressed into the Leatherhead Football Club Academy when he reached 18.
Martin also travelled to South Africa with Joe Crome & Alex Ball in 2010, which was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime trip which had a big impact on him.
In 2011, Martin took part in a Youth Alpha course, which is a 10 week programme exploring an introdution to Christian faith. Martin completed this with several of his friends, and after ongoing support and mentoring from the LYP team, he decided to get baptised in June 2012 (see picture below).
In 2012, LYP launched a coffee shop project for local young people, which would involve training groups of teenagers at BFree Youth Cafe to be ‘coffee baristas’. Again Martin showed huge leadership skills, and became the volunteer manager of the coffee shop area, learning skills such as managing staff and cashing up the till.Having decided that he wanted to become a youth worker, Martin decided to go to University to study Youth Work and Theology. LYP is Martin’s main placement provider for his practical learning, and covers the majority of his course fees. Martin is now in his third year of the degree course, and is firmly on track to obtain his BA in Youth Work in 2016.
Martin has continued to grow and further his potential, and now runs a number of our youth work projects, including Total Football, Cell Groups, and Triumph. In 2015, Martin’s Total Football project was awarded a National Crimebeat Commendation award. Martin has also resurrected the BLAZE project in order to give local teenage boys the opportunities he had as a youngster. Martin has also travelled to Romania with LYP twice to help run summer camps for disadvantaged young people in Transylvania, and hopes to continue running these trips to allow other local young people to take part.
We are extremely proud of everything Martin has achieved, and feel very fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated youth worker as part of our team! Well done Martin!