A Suffolk church is helping combat isolation and youth crime in a local village by providing a safe space for children to meet up.
Diane Grano, leader of the Lightwave Rural Resource Church in Red Lodge, is on a mission to provide children of all ages a place to socialise.
Starting for children at a young age at the Lightwave Hub, Diane and her team of volunteers provide safe spaces for youths to make new friends, play sports and engage in community projects. The drive to support children in the area comes as part of the village’s expansion, with Diane keen to ensure there are enough opportunities available to combat loneliness and crime.
She said: “It is really important to offer young people a safe place to come and relax, make new friends and play games or sports. We have a lot of new housing here in Red Lodge, but we aren’t seeing affordable facilities available to young people here. There is a great need to provide opportunities for young people. If these spaces aren’t available to them then it leaves them exposed to isolation and loneliness, or even crime. We know there are fears of county lines activity locally.”
Activities include weekly clubs for each primary school key stage, while the Lightwave Café offers children from Year 6 onwards cooked food, music and games. The nearby multi-use games area at the Red Lodge Sports Pavilion is also used on Fridays to allow children free access to play football.
Diane added: “We are a really community-focused church. We want to share the message of love, forgiveness, generosity and care. As Christians it is our duty to share that love and we are so pleased to see the community react so well to what we are doing. Investing in our young people is so worthwhile.”
The Lightwave Café has also offered two staff positions as part of the Kickstart scheme, helping young people in the local area into work at the café and foodbank.
There are currently two positions open for young people currently claiming Universal Credit.
More information on the Lightwave services can be found here: www.lightwavemission.org.