Spen Valley Faith in Schools Trust
Christians spreading the Gospel in local schools
Contact us on svfist@googlemail.com
Contact us on svfist@googlemail.com
Registered Charity No 1109799

In the Autumn 1999, Roberttown Methodist Church advertised the sale of their premises and grounds and also expressed ‘the fervent desire that ways be found to use some of the proceeds of any sale and development proceeds for the funding of a youth worker’.
The Birstall and Spen Circuit appointed a working party to define the mission, strategy and area of activity of the worker. Over 18 months they had discussions with other denominations, ‘providers/ assisters’ in the provision of Youth Workers and with local schools..

Lee Jackson in his book ‘Effective Schools Work’ made the point that

‘Churches used to be at the centre of the community …but on the whole they are not any more… So what are the centres of community life now? …I genuinely believe that schools are the centre of our
fragmented communities; people have to pick up their kids from school and so they meet at the school gates.’
98 % children go to school and on average each of them will spend 15,000 hours in schools. …’

This made sense to the working party, so rather than suggesting ways of strengthening existing youth activities or function as a detached worker based in one or more of the estates in the area, they recommended that a schools worker be appointed to support local schools. Existing contacts with schools in the nearby areas had shown that offers to help with school assemblies are always welcomed

Three proposals were put to the circuit meeting in September 2003 requested that the circuit approve
1 Ring fencing £75,000
2 Working party to involve local schools through provision of school assemblies and classroom assistance in Christian teaching
3 Set up an interdenominational Trust body that included a schools representative and expend money on advert for a schools worker

In respect of the wishes of the church whose sale has provided the initial funds, the worker was to be centred in the Roberttown, Littletown and Norristhorpe area, of which the centre of the community could be said to be Spen Valley Sports College and its feeder schools Leeside, Littletown, Millbridge. Cawley Lane, Headlands, Norristhorpe, Roberttown, Hartshead Junior Schools and Fairfield Special School.

The objects of charitable trust were agreed by the Trust and Charity Commission to be:
To advance the education and promote the Christian faith of children in Kirklees, West Yorkshire in particular but not exclusively by providing support in designated schools by the provision of a schools worker and by establishing out of hours activities with the aim of encouraging children to be caring , responsible citizens respecting the community in which they live.

At an early stage the working party had discussions with Scripture Union (SU), a national inter-denominational mission-movement, part of an international family of movements engaged in the same task around the world. Its global twin aims are to make God’s good news known to children, young people and families and to encourage people of all ages to meet with God daily through the Bible and prayer. As a one of 42 SU Associate Bodies, the Trust has worked with SU who have shared in the process of establishing good practice in all aspects of our work, provided training for new workers, provided experienced person at the interview stage for prospective employees, and shared with us their experience and expertise of ministry with children and young people.
The Trust has an interdenominational management team with members appointed by local churches and schools which is responsible for recruiting and employing the worker for an initial period of three years, providing pastoral support, ensuring that the worker had a good and meaningful role that both uses their skills and achieved the objectives of the trust. The Management Team/Trust is also responsible for seeking other sources of funds to maintain the post after the initial period.

Mrs Yvonne Froud who has been in post since the establishment of the trust is Junior School Teacher living in Shipley and worshiping at Shipley Baptist Church.

Most of the term Yvonne is employed to take assemblies and RE lessons.
At the end of each term she is assisted by over 40 Churches Together volunteers with CRB clearance in providing a 90 minute multi media events - Rewind2Christmas, Rewind2Easter and Fast Forward ( a Christian approach to the moving up to a secondary school).

In 2009/10 the end of term events have been provided in many of the Junior Schools in the Whitcliff Mount pyramid in Cleckheaton. This year they will also be run in the Birstall school pyramid. By the end of this year the lives of over 700 children will have been touched by experiencing 41/2 hours of Christian teaching.

Over the years to gift aided giving of trust members and others has increased together with grants from trusts, locals churches and Kirklees Sacre so that the funds available now stand at over £35,000..

See latest Newsletter on circuit website www.birstallandspen.org.uk