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Annual Report: The King's Arms 2009

It has been an extraordinary and challenging year for all those involved with the King’s Arms Youth Project. We were devastated in June when one of our nine year-old regular Saturday attendees decided to experiment with matches, and left our premises gutted by fire.

The first reaction was to question whether this was an indication that out work and ministry should stop. But as the tens and hundreds of young people came to the car park on that day - many in tears - joined by many of our ‘old boys’ driving up offering help, and dozens of parents just being there for support, we knew God’s provision even in hardship, and that we were and are affecting many young lives.

The town really rallied around us, and within a week we were back up-and-running, albeit in temporary accommodation in the Petersfield Football Club pavilion, and at the Petersfield Social Club. We will be forever grateful to those two organisations, and to everyone else who came to our help.

We are at present indeed meeting in the Petersfield Social Club, and in an upstairs room kindly offered at the Petersfield Methodist church hall. We meet every weekday afternoon and on four evenings and, although our attendances are down by about 25%, we still see over 200 different teenagers every week. A notable success recently has been of our under-14 soccer team being crowned the champions of Hampshire from amongst 75 other youth clubs.

Our school work goes from strength to strength, as we see pupils at the Petersfield School. We are able to individually guide them in mentoring sessions, or run groups for the school on advisory issues such as self-esteem. conflict resolution, or sexual education and relationships, as well as helping to run the Christian Union. We saw no fewer than 116 pupils during the last academic year, and were able to show an improvement overall in different aspects of their contribution to the school and themselves. Our team and Junior Leaders have recently earned plaudits at the school by teaching lessons during two special ‘Physical, Social, and Health Education’ days.

So, our service to the young people of Petersfield continues despite any difficulties we face, not least that the one-off donations that we depend on to survive have seriously decreased. Indeed, we are looking to expand the work we do in the coming year. We will have started to open for an evening in Froxfield by the time of this report, and are being encouraged by the County Council to operate a ‘King’s Arms’ for an evening in East Meon. Besides these initiatives, we are also negotiating to start renting the ground floor as well as the first floor at the Courtyard Buildings, which will present many more opportunities to serve.

We praise God that we have come through this year intact, and thank P.A.C.T. and its congregations for their continued support. We would value your prayers for the financial support to be forthcoming for all the work we want to do to continue to affect so many young lives.

See the King's Arms page on the PACT web site

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