As it celebrated its 15th birthday, Bishop Nick visited Kidz Klub Leeds (run by a partnership of churches), which is changing the lives of children who live in some of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
Each week, across four locations, around 2,200 children are reached through high-energy Saturday sessions, schools work and home visits.
Last Saturday in the centre of Leeds, 350 children piled off double-decker buses that had picked them up (for free) from the inner city estates, for a session as fast-paced and engaging as a children’s TV programme. Given the excitement and high-decibel singing, it’s obviously the highlight of their week.
Bishop Nick said, “I’m really impressed – if a little deafened. It’s a huge operation, with a high level of professionalism, endeavouring to give the best to children who are often not given the best of anything”.
Remarkably, every child that goes to Kidz Klub is visited at home each week without fail. One of the leaders, Sarah Turner (who attends St Luke’s Holbeck), says, “We place a big emphasis on being consistent and through the visits we can build relationships and trust and can support the children in their home situation. Getting to know the families means the visitors are also often an important link with other professional services.
“A large part of what we do is passing on a passionate Christian message that includes having love and respect for others, and positive ways we can transform our neighbourhoods. The children can be drawn into all sorts of crime and anti-social behaviour because there’s no positive alternative available, so we try to show them a different way. And by developing relationships we help nurture their self-belief, social skills and sense of boundaries.”
Bishop Nick added, “Some people can get stuck with a reputation, but Jesus was constantly offering people a new start, showing that you don’t have to be trapped by the past. Kidz Klub is making that a reality, not just a nice religious idea.”
With the help of around 100 volunteers, other Kidz Klub work includes taking assemblies/lunch clubs in 34 schools, and running family day trips and residentials for children who wouldn’t normally have a holiday.
The fastest zipline in the world - over a quarry
While much of Kidz Klub’s costs are met by local churches and individual donations, an annual shortfall means that funds need to be raised. If you’d like to help by riding the fastest zipline in the world (over a quarry in North Wales) on 5 July (or in any other way), please call 0113 245 6533, email info [at] kidzklubleeds.org.uk or visit www.kidzklubleeds.org.uk.