5 // 2014

Youthwork: The Blogs

As we approach the most stressful part of a young person’s year, Premier Youthwork writer’s day attendee has some words of advice and support for teenagers preparing for and going through exams.

Dear young people,

This letter is written with nothing but love and respect for you. We've entered exam season. I remember well the stress and tension, the constant reminders from teachers that ‘these are the most important exams you'll ever take’ and the feeling that you are going to do nothing but spend the next three months of your life revising.

The EDL (English Defence League) has typically been made up of men. But, as BBC3 Documentary EDL Girls showed, an increasing number of young women are joining the ranks of the movement. Jamie Cutteridge analyses this new trend and asks: why is the EDL popular?

We’ve had a whole heap of responses to the story of Steve Sexton: the man who pays his young people to come to church. Youth worker Mark Walley shared this thoughtful response on his blog thegroveisonfire.com and we liked it so much that we’ve reproduced it here.

The only thing less excusable than going to the cinema to see a Disney film on a Wednesday afternoon by yourself, is going to the cinema to see a Disney film on a Wednesday afternoon by yourself and laughing UNCONTROLLABLY loudly. So it was with me and Frozen.

Occasionally, due to bank holidays, deputy editor Phoebe Thompson ends up in the office by herself, going slightly mad. This happened recently and fortunately the fruits of her labour were this rather excellent blog.

Premier Youthwork’s intern Anya Briggs has had a fair few experiences of healing. But none of it was quite what she – or anyone else – expected.

According to the world, the mass media and millions of Beliebers - Usher discovered Justin Bieber.

But long before he was discovered on YouTube and catapulted to monumental fame, Justin was asked to sing at prayer meetings by an ordinary Christian called Nathan. Performer Peter Nevland tells the true Justin Bieber story…

On my small balcony lives a potted palm tree. I inherited this palm tree when I inherited the stewardship of the flat my parents own, as its current tenant. While my dad was regularly staying in the flat the palm tree was not a problem; he would water and tend to it on arrival, routinely like clockwork.

When the words ‘mission’ or ‘missionary’ are mentioned, our minds can immediately fill up with images of young people and adults travelling to Africa and taking endless pictures of themselves with orphans, showing off their sunburnt shoulders and strap marks. But is this really what mission is about? Premier Youthwork’s work experience student Sanna Hubbard explains what mission can look like for young people, here in the UK.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Lucy Greenland.

We're God's children and he’s our Father. As youth workers, we have a lot of kids too, and all of them crave love, stability and a sense of belonging. This is why BFree Youth Cafe (our daily drop in centre) works. BFree is one big, crazy family – we’re not perfect, but we love the kids we work with, even when they're driving us mad!

This morning, David Cameron will announce new measures to combat the spread of Internet pornography, and particularly of images depicting rape and abuse. Under his proposals, every home in the UK will have pornography automatically blocked by their ISP, unless they choose to opt in to receive it. That sounds like a very good idea, right?

I found my favourite football pitch last week. It had a big slope, the grass was rubbish and it wasn’t very big. However, one feature made it stand head and shoulders above every other pitch I’ve ever played on. One of the touchlines was an electric fence.

Every now and then someone would be running down the wing without an opponent in sight before screaming in pain and falling over. It got to the stage where the ball barely got played to that side of the pitch; people congregated on the other side and the game quickly became a farce. A hilarious, painful farce.

A few weeks ago, my life changed dramatically. It was not the significant shift to becoming editor of Premier Youthwork mag (however large and wonderful) which caused this change. Neither was it the sheer drop in temperature or unpredictable weather patterns. It was not even the return of GBBO to our screens.

It was this simple fact: I got an iPhone.

Merry Christmas! Team Youthwork are feeling gloriously festive and are going to spruce up your holidays with a series of ‘Yule Blogs’ (see what we did there) over the next week. Kicking us off we have journalist Jamie Cutteridge taking on some Christmas traditions.

Christmas at the Cutteridge household is an odd but beautiful time. Last year Mother Cutteridge bought her five children matching festive knitwear. This actually happened, this is my actual life. There I was, sat around the table, eating turkey, with reindeers on my cardigan, a paper hat and an elderly grandparent asking the same question about cranberry sauce ad nauseam and I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.



No, it’s not a blog about intergalactic zombies (although that might have been fun)… today, I want to talk to you about the weirdest week of the year. Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve. Six days each year when we amuse ourselves by coming up with innovative uses for leftover turkey, playing with / breaking / repairing Christmas presents, and watching those second-tier films that weren’t quite good enough to make the Christmas Day schedule. This year though, I want to suggest a way that this time might be put to better use.



Premier Youthwork intern, volunteer church-worker and part-time inventor Anya Briggs loves the Church, but feels that sometimes we push ourselves too much – at the cost of our effectiveness. Here’s her challenge to de-clutter your New Year.

Busyness is something that I talk about a lot and think about all the time. I expect that for a lot of Christians it’s one of those ‘side-issues’; something that is important to keep a check of now and again, but is in no way something that requires all of our passion and fight, like poverty or injustice, for example. I used to think like this.



Premier Youthwork deputy editor Phoebe knows how to spend her time off. Here’s what she learnt from that most festive of activities…cleaning her shower.

With the holidays, comes the opportunity to relax, visit family and…clean. Before you get the wrong idea about me - I am not exactly a domestic goddess when it comes to cleaning. I think the sheer fact that cleaning takes place in my holidays is evidence enough that I am not a Monica-esque clean freak.



New designer Lloyd has put down his crayons and coloured paper for a brief moment to bring you some…words. Here are his thoughts on Christmas, and the real reason for the season.

Every family has a present regime and mine was no exception. Stockings as soon as we woke up, which would normally consist of a clementine, a can of deodorant, some chocolate coins and maybe a card game, all placed in one of my dad’s old football socks. Then, one big present from ‘he who shall not be named’, but no more to be had until after lunch when the remaining presents were opened.

It’s rare that anything makes Premier Youthwork journalist Jamie Cutteridge as angry as the #CutForBieber story did earlier this year. Here he reflects on it, and gives some pointers as to how we can respond.

Twitter was a pretty horrifying place last week. The #CutForBieber ‘campaign’, which led to teenage Justin Bieber fans self-harming in protests against the superstar’s apparent drug use, trended on the website last Monday evening. This was made worse with the news that the hashtag was started by some online ‘hoaxers’, in order to (and this is a genuine quote) ‘see if (they could) get some little girls to cut themselves.’ Revolting.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s the first from Chris Spriggs.

It's time for a revolution. Just a quiet one, mind you.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Annie Carter.

Picture the following scenario on a Sunday morning during the notices. The speaker at the front announces a special supper. ‘Any adults in church today? Yes you know who you are.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here is today’s by Gemma Wilkinson.

I think there is a fundamental part of a youth worker’s DNA that I am lacking. I love my job, but there is one part of it that never fails to bring me out in a cold sweat: the weekend away.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Nick Francis.

It was half term, so my wife and I duly packed the kids in the car and set off to a local park farm. We met my mum and spent the day looking at various animals while watching our kids hurl themselves around a soft play area, secretly wishing we could all have a go.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Jon Ashley.

Until quite recently, I had two phones. One was for work and hidden away on my precious day off, the other could only be reached by dialing my personal number. For almost two years I withheld this number as if my sanity was tethered to it not being revealed to young people – or worse – their parents.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Pete White.

A gap is an empty space, somewhere in between, a place of nothing - why would you want to spend a whole year there? For some young people a year doing nothing may be appealing, after spending most of their lives in full-time education who could blame them? However there’s much more to a gap year and spending it wisely seems important.

For the first time ever, Premier Youthwork opened up its doors for a one-day writers masterclass. Sixteen youth workers gathered from all corners of the country to share ideas, learn skills and to hone their craft. In the coming weeks we will be posting guest blogs from the attendees – here’s one from Jo Royal.

This week I watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. As a film it failed to grab me – but it did succeed in sending me floating down a stream of thought that challenged me to rethink the way we reach young people with the gospel.