In February 2012, Oadby URC were awarded a grant from the Synod Outreach Fund. This story tells how it was used and what effect the grant has had. If you want to find out more, please contact the Revd Richard Eastman at Oadby - his details are in the Synod year book.
Oadby United Reformed Church - Family Fun Club
After a review of church activities, we identified the work that we would like to develop and with the agreement of the Oadby Church Meeting, an application was made to the Outreach Fund for a grant of £1,000 to start a fortnightly ‘Family Fun Club’. Using funds and grants from the Church £500, the South Leicestershire Group £500, Oadby Lions Club £250, and Synod £735, we had sufficient funding to take the plan forward. When the funding from Synod finally arrived, the equipment was purchased and a starting date decided upon. (August 18th 2012). Publicity was seen to be the key to getting the project started, Posters were produced and distributed to the local schools and displayed in local shops. A5 size flyers were handed out, but the most successful strategy was going out and speaking with the parents of youngsters using a nearby park.
On the opening date the hall was set up and the volunteers were assembled, but no children or families materialised. In the intervening fortnight publicity posters were again distributed and the idea was spread by ‘word of mouth’. The take up was slow until the third meeting and we then had several family groups turn up and the fun club was finally ‘out of the blocks’. The range of equipment bought was originally aimed at the age range 8 yrs to 14 years, however, we have ended up with the age range 3 months to 8 years old. Additional items had to be bought to accommodate the change in age range.
Since the start of the project we have met twelve times, the response has been varied but there is a ‘hard core’ of families who have been very supportive. They have provided staff for a stall raising funds for the Fun Club at a recent Church Sale, and also the provision of party food for our last meeting before Christmas, which was our Christmas Party and culminated in a Christingle Style ‘Service’. The ongoing project will go from strength to strength as both the Church Volunteers and the Parents have embraced the concept wholeheartedly and the sense of mutual appreciation is tangible.
To date approximately 74% of the budget has been spent on setting up costs. The majority of the ‘spend’ was on the larger items such as the Television, Wii Games Console, Table Tennis Table, TV Licence and aerial. We have been more than fortunate in the generosity of the Church folk with help towards Craft materials, toys and their time. It is hoped that some of the equipment can be used for other occasions such as Church Games nights and the viewing of national events and big sporting fixtures.
It is also hoped that the take up will increase as the reputation of the Club builds in the local area. It may take longer for the club to be truly self-sufficient, the ‘subs’ are set at a reasonable cost and the hope is that people will come and perhaps other meetings will spring up as a result. The ultimate hope is that through this reconnection with this section of the community (young families) will result in some people returning/starting to come to worship Services, the ethos of a ‘softly, softly’ approach is designed to be ‘less threatening’ than ‘out and out’ Bible Belting Evangelism. Connections and relationships have formed between the helpers and the parents and it is hoped that these will develop further.
Oadby URC have proved that with a bit of cash and commitment, things can happen, we can only hope and pray that the Fun Club will go from strength to strength and from little acorns………..
Oadby URC, South Leicestershire Group.