Prayer helps Ledbury LEAF win £80K youth funding bid

Published on: 31st May 2024

Orleton CE Primary school children on pilgrimage

LEAF (Locally Encouraging All to Flourish) in Ledbury, an ecumenical Christian charity working for the well-being of everyone in the community, has won a major funding bid to expand its work with young people, and it all began with weekly ecumenical prayer meetings to see what God was calling church leaders to do.

The £78,718 grant from the Herefordshire Safer Communities fund will pay for a full-time youth worker to run a new youth facility based at St Katherine’s Hall, a new part-time alternative school coordinator to work with local primary schools, and a part-time families worker and school counsellor to provide therapeutic support to children.

LEAF emerged from an ecumenical prayer movement and period of discernment by all the churches in the town, supported by Rev'd Preb Tony Hodder, the CofE Pioneer Associate Minister at St Michael and All Angels parish church. The charity is committed to supporting people holistically, allowing all to flourish in terms of physical health, emotional and mental health, and spiritual health. Tony says, “It's amazing that we began this with prayer, meeting in person at 7am, noon and 7pm every Thursday. We're still praying together the "7/12/7" but it has grown out of prayer into mission. The need couldn't be greater. We consulted with local youth, schools, a local councillor and Talk Community, facilitated by Rural Media, and we got over 600 responses and spoke in-depth with over 30 young people. This is what they said they needed, so this is what we're doing. Now with this extra funding we will be able to do  much more. The youth hub at St Katherine's Hall will kick it up a notch but we still depend on donations from all our churches and the community and in addition to the new paid positions we have over 50 volunteers to deliver the programmes. It takes a village - or a town in this case - to support its youth."

The grant scheme is funded by Herefordshire Council and West Mercia Police and is intended to help tackle the root causes of crime, vulnerability, exploitation and anti-social behaviour, particularly among children and young people.

You can learn more about LEAF on their website.

The Church of England also holds a weekly prayer meeting to pray for the number of children and young people in our churches to double; it's every Tuesday at 1pm. Find out more on their website.

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