The Message Trust: Sharing the love of Jesus through positive action in Sheffield

School half term is looming, exams are in the air, stress levels are rising all around me. As a parent of three secondary school children I do sometimes worry about the kind of world they are growing up in. I’m not harking back for the rose-tinted ‘good old days’ but I do want an emotionally and physically healthy environment for them to grow up in.

By Rev Nick Allan
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 9:59 am
Rev Nick Allan
Rev Nick Allan

I work alongside several qualified youth workers. They tell me stories of what everyday life can be like in our city’s big secondary schools. There is a massive mental health epidemic, only magnified through lockdowns. There can be the big pressure of ‘sexting’ for girls in particular. Children may not have had a decent breakfast before starting their school day. County Line gangs are targeting schools to recruit vulnerable new members. And many teachers and pastoral staff are buffeted by caring for a problem that feels too large.

It is easy to moan, opt-out or worry about the state of the world. It’s better to ask what we can do positively to improve it. These are our streets, our schools and together we can help create a culture of family life and shared values that work towards all-round wellbeing and safety.

Last week The Message Trust launched its new base in South Yorkshire. They have 30 years experience in some of the toughest estates and schools in the UK, sharing the love of Jesus through positive actions that build-up communities.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

When Jesus came to earth, the Bible describes God as “moving into the neighbourhood” (John’s gospel chapter 1). That’s how The Message works. Small groups of young adults move into disadvantaged communities and do life with their neighbours, sharing the good news of Jesus in word and deed and creating a deep sense of community. They deliver high quality relationship and sex education training to teens in schools. Ofsted called their impact exceptional. “Pupils’ behaviour, attendance and well-being increases and they begin to achieve more in school.”

The Message looks beyond young people and care about their families too. They’ve launched dozens of Community Groceries around the UK. Sheffield’s first opened in 2021 using surplus food fresh from local supermarkets to make the cost of a weekly shop more affordable, with free wrap-around support and courses like debt management and cooking lessons.

I’m so encouraged that many passionate people have not given up on our city’s young people. Neither should you and I.