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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary



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Reflecting on 2023

Thursday 21st December 2023

In this season of Advent we recall that the coming of Christ into the world is the greatest story of hope, and that our role as a Christian youth organisation is for us to share this message.

From a personal perspective the past 12 months have been more challenging than navigating through a global pandemic. One leader reminded me earlier this year that our focus can easily become about what has been lost, when really our focus should be on the possibilities and opportunities that these situations present.

In January we were delighted to learn we had been awarded significant funding from the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media & Sport) Uniformed Youth Fund. Our application was centred on delivering our strategy to improve the quality of experience for children and young people, but we have also set targets for starting new groups and growing existing groups and we’re delighted with the number that have already signed up to be part of the Building Stronger initiative so far.

Another important focus of our strategy is the role young leaders. We made a start by establishing a new Young Leaders Network last year, and one of the highlights of 2023 for me was the filming that took place in five Companies in England and Scotland earlier in the year, which focussed on young people talking about the benefits and barriers of being part of our organisation.

This year we also celebrated our 140th birthday, an incredible achievement. Of course the organisation hasn’t reached this milestone by chance, but through the dedication and resilience of thousands of volunteer leaders over the years, committed to supporting children and young people.

As well as giving thanks and celebrating all that has been achieved, it is vital that anniversaries are as much about looking forward as looking back.

Working in partnership with Youthscape we were delighted to publish our Youth Culture and Trends report at a reception in Parliament hosted by the Speaker, the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP. We will be holding webinars in the New Year to support our leaders to explore the findings of the research how to respond to the needs of children and young people in their own group.

Our new Ministry Team, which we were able to create following the funding received from the Uniformed Youth Fund, alongside our Christian Faith Group have been reflecting on ways in which we can help support the Faith Journey of young people.

We will be doing this in a variety of ways, including through a new initiative called Spaces which will complement our existing model in equipping and supporting an increasing number of Churches to share the Christian faith with young people.

May I take this opportunity to thank all our amazing volunteer leaders for what they do in communities across the country. Thank you also to our supporters, funders and partner organisations that we work with that allow The Boys’ Brigade to do more and be more as an organisation.

Wishing you all a happy Christmas and peaceful new year.

Jonathan Eales
Chief Executive


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