Hi, my name is Sarah and in November I was appointed to work 22 hours as a pioneer schools and community worker for Ignite – Alnwick.

For anyone who doesn’t know Ignite is an ecumenical charity which is funded by various churches and Christians in the Alnwick area which includes all areas that are in the Duchess community High school catchment.

As a schools and community worker I am employed to work in the local schools, youth groups, messy churches, family sessions, community and churches.  As well as reaching more children and families who don’t have a church background with the good news of Jesus, we aim to help connect school, church and family together as it is proven that a child who grows up with these 3 areas of their lives closely connected has a greater opportunity to grow deeper in their faith. The Pioneer part of my job title has been explained to me to mean any activity outside of the usual Sunday morning church activities, as well as thinking of new and fun ways to engage with children and young people.

Felton church has provided significant funding to Ignite which funds 15 hours of work and I have been given Felton as one of my focus schools alongside Ellingham which is being funded by FC-YAFO

Within Felton school I am a member of the Open the Book team which visits the school monthly presenting Bible stories during assemblies, and alongside Rev Rich collective worship sessions based on the Open the book stories which I will soon also be taking bi-weekly.

I am also starting to lead a lunchtime club on a Thursday to help a group of pupils prepare for leading their own collective worship on a Friday.

As well as this I am also on hand to support the school in any other way such as providing a yearly rota of activities which looks like this.  I will be involved in the services the school attends through the year such as the Christingle service and Easter service, supporting RE lessons and with simple practical support such as going as an extra hand on school trip or in the forest school lessons etc, all of which strengthens the relationships with the staff and pupils and ultimately between the church and the school showing Gods love through service.

I am also working in the community and joining in with session such as Food and Fun, where I am getting to know the families and building those relationships and trust and I will be also leading the story and activity time when Rev Rich and Emma are not available.

I am also on the morning prayer Wotsapp group and on a Wednesday morning I will be bringing prayers for the children and families work going ahead that week.

Ignite also provides weekly youth sessions on an evening for school years 3-13+ and I am the leader for the year 3-5 group which meets at the Lindisfarne centre in Alnwick. This group is open to all children in schools in the Duchess catchment area and indeed beyond and we have several children from the Felton area attending the groups.

Initially when I applied and was interviewed for the role I was adamant I couldn’t work on a Sunday due to the commitments for my other job as Children and families worker at Alnwick Baptist church for which I am employed for 12 hours a week and then also needing time to look after my own faith but through prayer and discussion I have agreed to help out at Messy church and be involved in the planning if I am needed and also to run a children’s/youth stream at the 5 o’clock service once a month and I had a good discussion with the youngsters at the last service on what they may like that to look like.

As we work as a team Jess our project leader and Rachel who is a Pioneer schools and community worker like me, will also be involved in work in the area and I know Jess has already been in talks regarding work around infant baptisms. Jess is also in talks about heading up an RE hub which will bring the RE leads of the local schools together to give each other support, share resources and allow for discussion.

The remaining hours for Ignite away from Felton are spent being the lead for the 5 Alnwick Open the Book teams, of which I am a team member of 2 although this is hopefully only for the time being until we can recruit more volunteers, and also supporting Ellingham primary school in a similar way to Felton as well as helping to run the Ignite Messy church held monthly at St James in Alnwick.

I am also the lead for the Christingle/ Christmas work, The Experience Easter work and the transition work in schools, all of which will also be offered to Felton.

I am really enjoying getting to know the church, families and children in Felton and I look forward to seeing what adventures with God are in store in the future.