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PART ONE: MAKE A NOISE


MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 1: What’s the Noise? You may be wondering what the Noise is, what it’s all about and why we do it. This section of GO:LOCAL looks at how we can do the Noise and other social action projects effectively. Included are hints and tips for things like publicity, team training and prayer. There are forms, downloads and a few procedures and policies to help you make your events safe and well thought out. Hopefully, you’ll find everything you need right here on this disc! This first section kicks off with a look at what the Noise is and the theology behind it.

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Chapter 1: What’s a Noise Project? The Noise is a national initiative that sees churches and youth groups get out into the community and practically serve their neighbours. Traditionally the Noise has been an annual event that takes place over the first May Bank Holiday weekend and involves a diverse range of activities. Churches across the UK identify areas and people within their local community that they want to serve and show practical acts of love and kindness to. These projects have involved everything from a bit of gardening, litter picking and car washing, right through to whole house make-overs and sports initiatives. Since 2001, when the Noise was first launched as a national weekend of church service in the local community, Noise projects or weekends have developed, often involving public events and community parties. Churches offer free community barbeques, concerts and gigs just to simply ‘bless’ their neighbours. Over the years, Soul Survivor has been involved in initiatives like the Message 2000 mission, SOULINTHECITY and the Noise because we want to increasingly promote, equip and support the local church to serve its community. With the launch of Soul Action we’ve been labouring the idea of ‘integral mission’; that being, doing and saying are at the heart of Jesus’ mission and call to discipleship. Loving God and loving others, remembering our communities and serving our neighbours are all a part of our desire to lead lives of worship. The Noise is about making sure our words and actions meet, that there is integrity in what we say – in short, that we walk the talk! This resource will help you do this effectively. There are hints and tips for things like publicity, team training and prayer. There are forms, downloads and a few procedures and policies to help you make your events safe and well thought out. Hopefully, you’ll find everything you need right here on this disc! We recognise that the Noise is not the only way to do community action projects. It’s just one of many initiatives you can get involved with. It’s likely, whether or not you’ve been involved in the Noise before, that your church is already involved in servant-hearted projects in your local area. We don’t want you to stop doing those things, but hopefully, this resource will give you some ideas about how to expand what you are already doing! We also recognise that the Noise is not beyond criticism. Getting into the community for just one weekend a year, badly planned or researched projects and over zealous evangelism have, at times, offended those we were trying to serve. Those of us who’ve undertaken Noise projects have learnt many lessons and we hope these tools and ideas will help make sure your plans to ‘love your neighbour’ are going to do just that. We also hope, as has happened in the past, that many Noise projects will use the national weekend as a launch pad to future and long-term community involvement.

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None of this is a blueprint to effective social action in your area. Every community is different and will have different needs to meet and resources, skills and people at its disposal to meet those needs. As such this guide offers you a framework to adapt and work with. If some of the ideas or suggestions included don’t work for you then that’s fine, just let us know how we could improve them for the future! The point behind all of this is that we walk, talk, live and breathe lives of worship that glorify God; that as we get into the communities of which we are a part we’d see God do amazing things in our neighbours, streets and towns because we let him use us!

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Chapter 2: The heart of the Noise Before getting to the nitty gritty of how to go about ‘doing’ a Noise project, it’s good to understand some of the key motivations that lie at the ‘heart’ of the Noise. We’ve summarised them with four themes: worship, showing God to others, inspiring to act and doing it well.

1) Worship The easiest way to understand the Noise is in the context of worship. Most of us love spending time in God’s presence singing songs of ‘worship’ and ‘praise’ to our creator. Although these times of devotion are a really significant way for many of us to meet with God, we know that the bible indicates worship is much more than a song. In response to the question ‘what is the greatest commandment?’ Jesus responds: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus illustrates what the Old Testament prophets had harked on about for centuries; loving God and loving others are two sides of the same coin. We can’t profess our love and commitment to Jesus without that love impacting the lives of those around us. Over 2500 years ago the same point was being made by Amos and Isaiah, both of whom gave radical critiques of Israel for their hypocrisy in understanding and undertaking worship. For these writers Israel’s life of worship had become ritualised, routine and focused around key festivals, actions and days. Through Amos, God rejects Israel’s worship because the poor were being abused and denied justice, whilst the rich got richer and richer (Amos 5:11-27). Isaiah redefines our understanding of fasting or devotion to God by addressing similar issues, highlighting that the kind of fasting God desires, is a life committed to ending injustice, feeding the poor and helping those who need assistance (Isaiah 58). More recently the idea of ‘integral mission’ has emerged to help put form to the outliving of our faith in words and actions. Integral mission means that our faith in the transforming grace of Jesus has social consequences as well as spiritual ones. We can’t simply focus on our own spirituality and relationship with God without loving others, standing up for justice and serving the poor. In short if we’re not caring for others or serving our communities, yet are still singing about how great God’s love is, we’ve seriously missed the point.

2) Showing God to others Jesus revealed God to the people around him. He performed miraculous signs, healed the sick and was a great teacher too. On top of all this he dealt with real people and did down to earth things for them. By not judging the

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woman caught in adultery, or by speaking with a Samaritan woman, or just through inviting tax collectors into his home, Jesus broke social conventions to show God to others. In these small acts and gestures he was illustrating some of God’s love, grace and compassion for His creation whether or not he expressed that with words. In simple terms the Noise is really just a way of doing what Jesus did, expressing God’s love to our neighbours. The Noise gives us a chance to do small acts of service - things that go beyond the normal societal expectations, because we love God and want people to know that.

3) Inspiring to act Soul Survivor and hence Soul Action are both committed totally to inspiring and equipping young people to meet - and live out a relationship - with God. Initiatives like SOULINTHECITY in 2004 saw over 11,000 young people give up some of their summer to tirelessly serve London’s diverse communities through small scale targeted social action projects. The point behind this was two fold. The first was to serve London, offering its churches incentive and resources to combine in a massive short term mission that would catch the imagination of the city. The second reason was to encourage thousands of young Christians to get out on the streets and communicate their faith through acts and deeds of service. We hoped this would inspire, equip and encourage young people to follow Jesus’ radical call to discipleship. Similarly, the Noise is an initiative that we hope will be driven by passionate young people. People who have been inspired by God’s spirit to make connections between the songs of worship they sing and the practical outworking of their devotions through a life of worship; a life that will practically seek to love others, remembering those who are poor in all their actions and choices.

4) Doing it well The last key motivation behind the heart of the Noise is about doing all this stuff well. When we put on a social action project of any sort we want to do it in a way that will further relationships and not offend the people we hope to serve. Whether or not we think a particular estate or area is in ‘need’ or ‘poverty stricken’ these places are still full of people who have their own opinion about their social status – many of whom may react negatively to their area being seen as ‘needy’. The Noise is about practically serving communities, and in some areas it’s more obvious to see ways where projects and initiatives could make a difference. But, we need to ensure we work with local people, understanding their needs and serving them, rather than our own interpretations of a community’s needs. This guide has been developed and adapted to make sure we aim to do Noise projects well. There’s loads of new stuff on planning and identifying needs and there’s a whole bunch of extra resources including policies and procedures to give you a head start on some of the more complex areas of organising public events. This guide isn’t fool proof and we’ll all make mistakes as we deal with people, organisations and communities that have

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different values to us. However, we hope it’s a good start to get you and your youth group/church organising Noise projects that effectively serve and bless local people. We don’t want this to stifle your creativity or passion in getting out there to serve… some needs are easy to identify and easy to meet. However, we also want to ensure that good intentions are followed up with good results.

So, that’s it. Worship, showing God to others, inspiring action and doing it well form the heart of the Noise. The next section develops the links between the first two of these; worship and evangelism.

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Chapter 3: Worship, Evangelism and Justice Before starting any social action projects it’s good to think things through a little bit. You may find it helpful to consider the following question and its responses. Do you want to engage in community based, servant hearted projects because: 1) You know God wants you to care about people, or 2) You care about people knowing God Mission is usually either about God’s heart for others (justice) or the desire to see people come to know God (evangelism). However, the real question is how can we model both? The solution is a life of worship, out of which flows a concern for others (justice) and their relationship with God (evangelism).

The great ‘Co-Mission’ Just before Jesus ascended into heaven he encouraged the disciples to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them… and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded’ (Matt 28v19-20). In light of this passage it’s easy to see why evangelism, that is telling people about Jesus, has been at the heart of mission. However, if we stop and check again, the great commission is also about making disciples and showing converts how to follow Jesus’ teaching. It’s pretty hard to summarise Jesus’ teaching. One way is to look at his response to the question ‘what is the greatest commandment?’ As we’ve seen, it’s loving God and loving others - that is – worshipping God and therefore living justly. When seen this way evangelism and justice are all part of Jesus’ command to make disciples. We should then see the great commission more as a great ‘co-mission’ where both evangelism and justice flow from a life of worship. The challenge for us is to get the two in equal measure!

What did Jesus do? Our example in doing this great co-mission is Jesus. Throughout his life he engaged with a massive range of people, meeting their needs and revealing God to them. If we take a brief look at how Jesus acted then we see the following three guiding principles that we can put into practise.

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1) Jesus sees people’s needs The healing of the blind man Bartimaeus (Mk 10:46-52) highlights that Jesus doesn’t just see people’s needs but takes account of their own perceptions of the situation. Bartimaeus wanted Jesus’ attention (v48). Jesus responds, calling him over, seeing that he was be blind. Then, with no hint of sarcasm, he asks ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Even though Jesus knows what the problem is, he still takes the time to find out what the person desires, rather than force him into something he doesn’t want at all. For Bartimaeus, blindness might have given him an income or all sorts of other benefits that he wasn’t looking to give up. On all but six occasions when Jesus heals someone he involves the individual in the healing process. These other occasions involve demonic possession, Sabbath healings and the healing of a soldier’s wounded ear, all of which mean social custom or just plain obvious need make Jesus’ action called for rather than self imposed. As we see with many of the healings, often it’s the individual’s step of faith rather than just Jesus’ action that brings healing – in short that Jesus expects to work with people to meet their needs rather than just do it all himself. In working in our communities, we need to take account of this principle, working with local people to understand the needs of a specific area or person, rather than defining that need and imposing our own solutions.

2) Jesus meets people’s needs Going back to Bartimaeus Jesus sees a need, listens to the concerns of the person involved and does something about it! Jesus heals and cures Bartimaeus of his blindness. Time and again we see Jesus meeting needs, whether spiritual, physical, social or mental. He performs a miraculous sign that results in the feeding of five thousand hungry followers (Mk 6v30ff), he engages and supports those that society is about to condemn (Jn 8:1ff), he sets people free from psychological hurt or demonic possession (Mk 5), he heals the sick (Mk 1:29) and he even raises people from the dead (Mk 5:37ff). On top of meeting our need for relationship with our heavenly Father, the life of Jesus highlights that God is interested in the day to day pain, problems, concerns and issues of humanity. Jesus had integrity; his works and wonders matched his words. In committing to work in our communities we need to ensure that we meet real needs, not giving up half way through, but actually ensuring that what we promise and do have results that effectively make a difference to people’s lives. Sometimes it is just the small things that matter; like building relationships, listening, offering assistance and serving – they are all part and parcel of the example Jesus left us. Committing to act like Jesus and put others before ourselves means we express our faith loudly by filling our lives with these small yet vital gestures.

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3) People see their need for Jesus The gospels don’t just record what happens when Jesus recognises and meets people’s needs. They also tell us about how people respond to Jesus as a result of their interactions with him. Everyone responds in different ways. Some follow (Lk 5:1-11), some totally change their ways (Lk 19:1-10), some seem to stay the same (Lk 18:18-30) and for some we’re just not told what happens. The point is, when Jesus recognises and meets people’s needs they respond. The same is true for us. As we step out to love and serve our neighbours they will respond, some maybe positively, others maybe not so! Whatever their response we must ensure that we are still involved in their lives and our commitment to them is not dependent on whether they respond positively to our more vocal evangelism. Believing in Jesus means that we must do both. We can’t simply meet people’s needs in this life and ignore the eternal consequence of not knowing Jesus, similarly we can’t focus on meeting people’s eternal needs without helping them through the problems and issues of their daily lives. As we saw earlier it’s about striking a balance between justice and evangelism.

In the context of worship The heart of Soul Survivor and hence Soul Action is worship; worshipping God and becoming more of who we were created to be. Worship is about a dedicated life – a life that seeks Godly ends in all our decisions, choices and actions. To live a life of worship puts our attempts at the ‘great co-mission’ of evangelism and justice in context. As we lead lives of worship we seek to see God’s just Kingdom on this earth. As we lead lives of worship we long to see others know God as their Father. As we stop and see people’s needs, work to effectively meet those needs and hopefully as a result reveal our Father to people, we’re living out a life of worship. So that’s it! Living with integrity, being like Jesus in the everyday and worshipping him through our actions, choices and relationships. From this perspective the Noise is an overflow of our lives of worship out of which necessarily comes a concern for justice and evangelism.

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Chapter 4: Integral Mission: Not just the 3rd World Injustice, oppression and poverty are rife amongst our global neighbours. We often associate poverty with what is known as the developing world. The Aids pandemic in Africa, gross inequality in Latin America and the fact that one child dies every three seconds from a preventable disease illustrates that poverty has many faces in the poorest regions of our global community. In recognition of this Soul Action is committed to working with, supporting and learning from groups and various people in the developing world who are making a difference to the lives of the people around them. However, that is not the be all and end all. We recognise that poverty does not honour international borders. The old distinctions of wealth between Northern and Southern hemispheres have disappeared. We live in a world where in 2003 12.4 million people living in the ‘developed’ UK were classified as existing below the national poverty line1. The term globalisation has come to establish, that along with technology, capital, people and corporations, poverty is also truly worldwide and an inherent fact of life in both the developed and developing worlds. Because of this, our desire to live out the great co–mission must also have an effect on our own streets, towns and neighbourhoods. There are families, individuals and communities in reach of our churches where relative poverty and social exclusion offer their own issues and problems. Unemployment, youth crime, drug abuse and debt are becoming massive ‘local’ problems in many of our areas. Integral mission – joining up our being, doing and saying – means we seek God’s Kingdom in and for our communities. This is what the Noise is all about! But the Noise isn’t simply about working to end poverty locally. The Noise is about meeting needs and serving others, but we also want to bless our communities and neighbourhoods. Offering free services, putting on community barbeques and events are not going to end youth crime or drug abuse, but they do show that we want to be involved in the lives of our neighbours. The heart of the Noise is to simply get out into our communities and serve people, meeting their needs and building long term relationships. We can do this in all of our communities, whether rich, poor or in between. The Noise isn’t just about serving poorer neighbourhoods, but it is often easier to identify and meet needs in places where social exclusion and poverty are more visually obvious. As we seek to live out our faith, joining up our being, doing and saying, we become involved in the lives of our local neighbours and want to see our communities changed.

1

The most commonly used threshold of low income is 60% of median income. In 2002/03, before deducting housing costs, this equated to £194 per week for a couple with no children, £118 for a single person, £283 for a couple with two children and £207 for a lone parent with two children.

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A couple of brief examples highlight what can be done.

Community subway painting A group of Christians in south London is tackling a badly graffitied subway in their area by enlisting the support of the local community. Many people had wanted something done for years, but it was the group that took on the role of catalyst, drawing in the local residents’ association, nearby schools, the community art college, and the local DIY shop to get involved in repainting the subway. They were even able to get the youth who had been responsible for most of the graffiti in the first place to help redesign the subways new look - spray painted murals, shapes and numbers. A project that had seemed huge became possible, and has helped to draw the community together. The church made many contacts and relationships with the wider community.

Toy story A group of Christians in London found that single mothers in their community were finding it difficult to get out and meet people, and as a result were feeling very isolated. They also recognised that many were struggling to afford toys for their children. They came up with a simple way of beginning to address these two issues. Every two weeks, someone from the scheme drops in to see the mother, and brings a range of toys with them. As with a library, the mother can return toys and borrow others. During the visits, there is usually time to build relationships and, where appropriate offer further support.

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 2: What do you know? What do we know about our communities? This might sound a strange question, but often the places where we work, live and play are the places we take for granted and rarely think about. As part of the Noise we want to meet our community’s needs, and so in this section we look at our own knowledge of our local areas, asking what do we know? We’ve included a few exercises and tips to help you get started in thinking about the needs of your community!

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Chapter 1: Good intentions A doctor is sitting behind a desk writing some notes as another person, the patient, comes into the room with a bad limp and clearly in pain. The doctor looks up, sees the problem and immediately applies a bandage to the leg, whilst offering a few comforting words like, ‘I’m sure you must have been in a lot of pain ... I know what it’s like; having sore shins is terrible. This will do the trick. Let me know if you need any further help,’ and so on. The patient looks surprised and a little upset, but every time she attempts to say something, the doctor interrupts with a phrase like, ‘You’ll be fine now.’ In the end the patient gives up trying to talk to the doctor. The doctor finishes the bandaging and goes back to his desk looking very satisfied, mumbling ‘Close the door behind you as you leave’. As the patient leaves, looking very despondent, she suddenly clutches her heart and doubles up in pain. Our ability to listen to God, ourselves (this section), and to our community (next section) are all essential in helping us to get started in serving our areas. As the story above highlights, with all the best intentions in the world, we can often assume things about our own communities and the areas we want to serve, without actually checking what the real problems are. We need to ensure that our efforts at serving our community do just that, rather than make us feel better about ourselves. The people who live in the communities and areas we want to serve intimately know the problems and issues that they face. They will also have opinions about the best way to tackle those problems, which we would do well to listen to. Getting local people involved and interested in our attempts to serve, finding out their hopes and opinions and asking them what they want us to do, is sometimes both the simplest and most effective way of turning our good intentions into good results. The point is that we might not know as much about our community and its problems as we initially thought we did! But that doesn’t mean we know nothing! We all have experiences, ideas and hopes for our communities. We must know something, as we want to serve our towns in the first place. Because of this, this section of the guide will begin to show us ways in which we can challenge ourselves and find out what we really know about our the areas we want to serve.

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Chapter 2: Look, listen and stop It is likely that the more we involve ourselves in the lives of those who live in the areas we want to serve that we’ll realise there are a mass array of problems, concerns and issues going on. Inevitably, many of the problems will be interconnected. It will be easy to get disillusioned and feel like the challenges are too big – especially if you’re part of a small church. Although it might be easy to lose heart we know God encourages us and longs to use us to see our communities changed. It might be that as you start researching what you can do and why you should be doing it that you begin to see small areas where you can have an impact. Ask God to show you ways forward, giving you real relationships with people you can work with in your church and in the community. You might find it helpful to follow the little motto ‘look, listen and stop’ as you begin to think about and walk around the community’s of which you are a part. Taking time to look, listen and stop as you begin to go out and touch the lives of real people with real needs will help to clarify the vision of what God wants to see happen in your community. In Matthew 9:35-37 it is Jesus’ ability to see through the crowd to the individuals that form it, that enables his heart to be filled with a deep compassion for their situation. The only way for us to feel this is to come face to face with people who form the community with which we are attempting to connect. Going to where people are will undoubtedly give you more of an insight about what’s going on; it will even help you to sieve through some of your preconceptions about an area, or even some of the research you may have already gathered. But most of all, as you begin to draw alongside some of the pains, hurts and sometimes joys which exist all around you, it will begin to change you too.

Look Taking time to look around before you jump into organising a project or Noise event will help you gain greater understanding of the area, the issues and the people you are hoping to serve. Looking before you leap will help you to use all that God has given you to the full. When Nehemiah returned to the crumbling ruins of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:11-16), he must have been sorely tempted to just jump in and get straight on with what God had called him to do – the rebuilding of the walls. After all, the need as he rode into the city could not have been more obvious. Yet his first act was to investigate the walls, assessing the need. He looked before he leapt!

Listen After ‘looking’ and gaining our initial perspective on the problems or issues facing a community we need to listen to a variety of voices.

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First and foremost is God. We need to take time to hear what He is saying, letting Him direct what we hope to do and letting His Spirit guide our motives, actions and hopes. The second is listening to the voices of those who live in the community or area we hope to serve. Often, but not always, we’ll live in the area where we hope to do a Noise project. If this is the case we’ll know our neighbours and want to understand their concerns and what they want to see happen. It’s really important whether or not we live in the areas that we take on board the concerns of those who live there. We want to make sure we meet their needs and do something that will have a lasting impact! This isn’t just about surveys and questionnaires, but actually drawing alongside people, getting to know them, understanding their hopes and needs and building friendships. Lastly we need to listen to ourselves. How do we speak about our community or the area we want to serve? How do we relate to the people who live there? As we develop relationships with the people we hope to serve our assumptions about them and these areas will be challenged and changed. We may well realise that we aren’t the solution to an estates crime problems, but as we listen to ourselves we may be able to suggest things we can do to reduce youth boredom and unemployment. Although we want to listen to the community we still have a lot to offer, so let’s not discount ourselves!

Stop All this may sound a bit inactive! After all the heart of the Noise is about us getting out there and doing something. However, we need to ensure we remember to keep stopping at all times throughout the planning and implementing of our Noise or social action projects. Taking time to stop, considering what you’re discovering, planning and hoping to do will help you both clarify what you’re doing and continually bring the focus back to meeting real needs. All of this is an ongoing process, we’ll need to continually look, listen and stop when we’re developing community based projects to ensure we’re effectively loving and serving people.

An example It may sound as if this process will take ages; in many cases it will. Check out this example: a church in the heart of Liverpool spent a whole year talking to the community and discovering their needs. A door-to-door survey of community needs highlighted the need for: 1) A playgroup and a provision for children. This now runs Monday to Friday with a staff of seven with a waiting list of children wanting to join the playgroup. 2) A drop-in centre that local people could use. They decided to open up a coffee shop. It has now been in operation for more than 10 years. 3) There were a large number of children, particularly in the teenage bracket, who had been expelled or excluded from mainstream education. They decided to renovate the basement into a skills school and community centre.

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Elaine Reece explains: ‘Over time people have come to trust us and they’ve done that because they’ve seen what we are about. They’ve seen that we care for them and meet their needs right where they are.’ All these tips are included to help us listen to our community and, through doing so, begin to identify key issues and needs. We may end up denying people respect and worth if we merely do things for them rather than with them. In fact, we may end up helping people to meet our needs rather than theirs (i.e. our need to feel needed or our desire to feel we are doing something worthwhile). Mrs Jones, a lady who has lived in poverty for most of her life, said in an article in a national newspaper: ‘The poor are so often seen as the passive object of history rather than its active subjects ... poor people want to be included and not judged and “rescued” at times of crisis.’ Whether we deem a community poor or not, the same principle applies… doing stuff to people without involving them may not really help us meet their needs at all!

Before going on ask yourself the following questions... 1) What do you feel you know about your community already? What do you expect listening to them will achieve for you personally, your group, your community? What concerns or excites you about what lies ahead of you during this particular stage? 2) Why do you feel it is important to listen to your community? How would you summarise this in light of what you have just read? In what ways might you need to communicate this differently depending on whether you are communicating this to your group, your community or your Christian community? 3) How will you ensure you build in the need to look, listen and stop when thinking about your community? What may this mean you need to do throughout the Noise planning process? The principles you establish now will determine what you do in the future.

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Chapter 3: You and your community: use what you know! One of the assumptions that it might be easy to make is that the Noise is about doing stuff TO a community. However, what we really want to get across is that you are part of the community. Wherever you’re planning to do your Noise project it will be a part of the town or area you live within. You yourself will have an opinion, a perspective and a whole heap of experiences that you can bring to bear on any planning that you do. The point of the next few exercises is to get you to investigate what you know about your local community and what involvement you already have so that you can meet needs more effectively!

My involvement in my community To begin to understand how you are involved in your community, have a look at the following diagrams (below) and have a go at filling one out. These will be a useful record to keep for later when you come to think about how, when and where you can connect with your community. Fill in the diagram marking out the following areas: 1) In the central circle put your name. 2) In Zone A write the activities on which you spend your time, such as in employment, child caring, watching TV, or playing sport. 3) In Zone B write the people groups with which these activities bring you into contact: a parent of young children may come into contact with teachers and other parents, for instance. 4) In Zone C write those issues in which you are interested or with which you are involved in some way, such as the environment, drug abuse, etc. These are likely to be connected to Zones A and B, but occasionally people may have an interest which at present they do not spend any time on. These should be written in Zone C and a line drawn connecting it straight to the centre.

Examples

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As you can see from Joe’s example above he is involved in multiple ‘communities’. From the football club to the neighbourhood watch, church and work. Have a look at your diagram and see where you’re already involved in the life of your community. Is it with mates down the pub, through school, college, sports clubs, work? Looking at your diagram can you see any communities you are already involved with that have specific needs you could look to meet? In the example above involvement in neighbourhood watch schemes or schools/youth offer ways Joe could begin to think about how his current community involvement and the relationships he has can be developed to meet the needs of a specific area. Have a think about your community involvement and how you can get involved in meeting the needs in your area!

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Chapter 4: Ask yourself: Community mapping Once you’ve established what communities you are involved with, you can now start the process of identifying and understanding local problems questioning why you think these things are issues in the first place. Try the following exercise with some mates and see what you come up with!

Community mapping! What you’ll need… Some blank paper (wallpaper lining if you decide to do it as one small group) and a pack of coloured pens. Use a - black pen to draw a map of your community/area/high street. - red pen to mark any areas where you don’t feel safe. - blue pen to mark where young people ‘hang out’. - green pen to mark where most people spend their leisure time. - grey pen to mark where most people work. - pink pen to mark where the best places to live are. - brown pen to mark where the worst places to live are. - yellow pen to mark where you like to spend most of your time. - purple pen to mark what you would most like to see changed/improved/added. A little example!

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It’s worth getting together with some mates to discuss what you’ve all drawn. Each of the drawings (or if you’ve done one big one) will highlight masses about what you think about your community and what you think are the issues, needs and problems. It might be helpful to consider some of the following questions: What did you learn about your community as a result of the exercise? What did you learn about others’ views of your community? How would you use this with the wider community and specifically who with (schools, young people on street corners etc)?

Another example At a workshop where the cumulative total of people’s experience of living in the community was more than 900 years, six different groups drew a map of their community, and then wandered around to see what the other groups had drawn. When they were asked what struck them most, they all pointed out the lack of services and amenities in the community (there were no shops, garages, or pubs within walking distance). Even though they had all lived in the community for so long, as car drivers they had never really thought about it before. Then the penny dropped as to the difficulties that elderly people or those without cars must have in their community, and that their building was one of the few facilities easily accessible. This led them to look on the potential for their building in a whole new light.

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Chapter 5: Taking a walk! One of the best ways to understand what is going on in your community (or the area you want to serve) is to spend some time there! The idea of mapping stuff out is to further fill out and think about what we know about our communities. It’s probably best you attempt the following exercises with some mates, as hopefully together you’ll get a fresh perspective on your local area, the needs it has and how you can get involved in meeting those needs and serving your neighbours!

What to do... Plan a couple of walks around your community: one route through your locality, between one and two miles long, for every four to five people in the group. Make each route as varied as possible, including shops, leafy lanes, housing estates and local parks. Ensure each group has at least one responsible adult with them. Each group will need a map with their route clearly marked. Before you start, and during the walk, pray together and ask God to reveal things more clearly, to open your eyes and your heart to the community as he sees it. (You don’t have to do this all at once. If there are just a few of you, do a few different walks over a few weeks to ensure that you get a feel for the whole area. You may feel that this process will take months, but that’s ok. Let God use the time to tell you what he thinks and to introduce you to people in the area). Before you go on your walks be aware of the following issues and areas you could think about as you go: Living: Think about what it’s like to live in the different places you see: the big house, the old peoples’ home, the housing estate. How old are the cars or even the people? Occupation: Are there opportunities for people to be employed locally? If so, what are they? Construction: Look at the buildings: are there factories, warehouses, derelict buildings, or houses that are boarded up? How old are they? Are they smart or neglected? How do you think this makes people feel? Amenities: What about the shops? Go in and look. Buy something. What food do they sell? How expensive are the goods? Do they take credit cards? What are the opening hours? Do they give the appearance of thriving or are they barely scraping by? Leisure: What opportunities are there for relaxation and entertainment? What are the pubs like? What about the state of the local parks? Are these places that feel particularly welcoming or threatening? Litter: Are the streets clean and well lit, or littered with tin cans, chewing gum and cigarette butts? Is there a feeling of pride in the area or do you perceive a low morale? What messages of self-worth and value are being given to people by this environment? Individuals: Look at the people you see: who are they and what are they doing? What might they be feeling? How is their morale? What level of self-esteem do they seem to possess? Faith: Note the variety and number of churches, mosques and synagogues. Education: Are there any schools? What kind of schools are they? What condition are they in?

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All the time consider the kind of words you would use if you were asked to describe the place to a stranger. These are just suggestions and no doubt you’ll think of loads more. The key is that you stop, look, listen and talk about what you see and hear. Stop occasionally and simply pray that God would reveal something new, or maybe that he would begin to intervene in situations or open up opportunities for you to begin to build relationships at this early stage in the process.

On your return As you and your mates return, take some time to have a think and reflect on what you saw and felt. After a bit of time reflecting get a map of the area and begin talking about specific areas (e.g. geographic areas such as an estate or by land use such as shops, private road etc). As you consider these bits of your area think about the following things: How did you feel during that section of the walk? What do you think it would be like to live in that area? What factors are working towards developing a sense of well-being? What factors are working against developing a sense of well-being? After all of this think about what you learnt, what God specifically spoke to you about and what issues the community seems to face. These exercises are about engaging with the community, giving you the chance to assess what you could do, and why you’d want to do it. We want to give not just our neighbours, but ourselves, and God, time to communicate exactly what the needs of our area are. Walking around the community, asking God and asking people what they think the problems or causes of the problems are help us challenge our own perspectives and get working to positively involve as many people as we can in our hopes of meeting needs and serving the community!

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Chapter 6: BUT WHY? We’ve all had one of those conversations with a six year old who responds to everything you say with ‘why?’ It will drive you insane and within two minutes you’re likely to be attempting to explain God, the universe and life in general to someone who’d much rather be playing Pokemon. However, the question can be really useful to us in understanding the causes of the issues certain communities face. If we really want to see communities changed then we will hopefully work to see the root causes of issues like drug abuse, teenage misbehaviour and deprivation challenged. Using a ‘But why’ flow chart will help us get down to some of the root causes of the issues we face, moving away from superficial answers that scrape the surface to more fundamental problems. When used in the context of an interview it is also a good way of challenging the assumptions and prejudices of the interviewees themselves. Simply asking ‘But why?’ all the time may be perceived as somewhat confrontational so it may be worth explaining the approach before you do it! We’re still trying to find out what we think about our communities and what our perspectives and assumptions about the areas we live in and near are. So, at this point it’s helpful to do the ‘But why?’ interviews with people from your church and youth group (people who you’ll expect to be involved in your Noise or social action project).

Here’s what to do Ask the individual or group to identify a problem in their community. Draw or write the issue in a box at the top of a big piece of paper. Then ask: ‘But why has this happened?’ The participants write their response in another box and draw a line connecting the two. Again ask the question, ‘But why has this happened?’ Gradually a flow chart is built up going back to the root causes. Use the completed flow chart as a basis for further discussion. You could ask questions like: Which of the causes that you have listed do you think are most important? Which of the causes you have listed do you think you can change? Which of the causes you have listed do you think the community could work together in changing?

Make it personal Take one of the issues you’ve identified as an area of need in your community, such as homelessness among teenagers, or more specifically to address the needs of a particular homeless teenager, and then to ask the question, ‘Why is the person like this?’ After each answer, ask again: ‘But why?’ Keep asking the question until they have got as far as they think they can go.

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For example:

You may find that some are more complicated, and could be best represented through a more complex flow chart, for example:

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Asking ‘But why?’ draws us closer to understanding how and what we can do to effectively love and serve our neighbours. Uncovering root causes will give us a real depth of understanding of not just what is going on in a local area, but also help us to tailor our Noise projects and community action initiatives to make a difference in the long term. Many of the root causes we uncover, such as unemployment, lack of amenities or poor race relations may seem almost impossible to change. However, we need to ensure that the Noise and community action projects we plan and undertake do not ignore these root causes, but challenge them and begin to offer practical solutions to the issues.

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Chapter 7: So, what do you know? The whole point of this section was to draw out and use what you know about your local community. Before undertaking any community action project we need to ensure we do our research. This section has been all about researching ourselves, challenging our assumptions and helping us to realise that despite our best intentions to get out there and serve, when it comes to bigger Noise projects and events we need to thoroughly think through what we’re hoping to achieve. It’s always a good principle to go back to the motto we quoted earlier: look, listen and stop. Once you’ve done this you might want to ask yourself again ‘what do I know?’ You might be both humbled by your attitudes and surprised by what you’ve discovered! Next we move on to asking what others know!

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 3: What’s THE NEED? From the exercises and research you’ve undertaken already it should be becoming more and more obvious that organising a Noise project and meeting a need in your community means we have to ask a wide variety of people what they think the needs in an area are. We can’t simply assume that we know it all and have all the cures to a community’s problems. The stuff in this section is aimed to help you find out what needs in your community you could realistically meet and do something about!

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Chapter 1: I know it all! From the exercises and research you’ve undertaken already it should be becoming more and more obvious that organising a Noise project and meeting a need in your community means we have to ask a wide variety of people what they think the needs in an area are. We can’t simply assume that we know it all and have all the cures to a community’s problems. God speaks to all of us clearly about our communities, asking us to get involved, meeting all kinds of needs from the spiritual right through to the social and physical. However, as we’ve seen we must involve all sorts of different people in our understanding of what the problems, dilemmas, issues and solutions are. We’ve already given you some tools to understand what you think about your community and its problems, so now we’re going to look into how we can use these tools to work out what others know! As we begin to get serious about seeking God’s kingdom in our towns and nation, we’ll get seriously interested in the lives of others too. There will be loads of issues, expectations, hopes and disappointments in the lives of the people you will meet. Some may already be your friends, others you might not yet know, but will develop relationships with. This phase of research is essential as you’re likely to be meeting and interacting with people who may turn out to be the very people you will end up serving. We need to have the right attitudes and be genuinely interested in their lives, rather than use their opinions to justify what we’ve already decided to do! All this may seem a little over the top for a weekend of social action like the Noise. However, we want to equip you to be able to undertake Noise projects on a regular basis, to find out what persistent needs in various areas are and, as a church, to draw near to the community and help them resolve some of the issues. And besides, all of these ideas are amazing ways to engage with your community, showing people you are really serious about serving them and their community. We know it might seem a drag on paper, but in reality it’s about developing friendships too. You never know, at the end of it we might just learn something as well!

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Chapter 2: Involving others You may be thinking, “I don’t need to involve other people, I know what all the problems are”, but just a brief look at how Jesus healed will show us that his example is all about involving others. In fact, in the majority of cases when people are healed by Jesus he actively worked with people.

Jesus’ example Except for a few occasions where Sabbath custom or obvious pain meant Jesus initiated someone’s healing, Jesus involved an individual or their friends in their healing. Jesus did not heal passive recipients: he expected people to participate, to get involved. He did things with people, not simply for them. Jesus healed in response to people. He didn’t just jump in and act without permission and he didn’t do what he thought was best no matter how right he may have been. He waited and he listened. He allowed people to raise their concerns. Jesus showed his immense love and compassion for people by allowing them (or their friends and relatives) to initiate or get involved in the healing process – to step out in faith and work with him rather than just receive from him. To Jesus that seemed to be an important part of the healing process.

If Jesus did it then so should we! Jesus was unique. Involving people in their own healing can be a pretty hard thing to do. It means that sometimes we should give up our plans and change them to serve someone else’s ideas. In the context of planning the Noise and other local action initiatives we need to be able to listen and learn from the people we are hoping to serve to make sure they actually want us ‘on their turf’ for a weekend, or on a more regular basis. Involving people means that not only are we able to get to the heart of a community’s problems but we also give others the confidence to believe that their experience and ideas are valuable and worth listening to. We all appreciate being allowed to make a contribution and get involved in something worthwhile. We all like being offered the opportunity to take part in something, especially if it effects us. An attitude that seeks to involve people will not only be more effective in the long term, but it values people in a way that imposing ‘help’ on people can never do. Listening is an important act of serving our community in itself. It could be that one of the needs in your community is simply for someone to listen.

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Chapter 3: Research: Use what others know So, you’ve found out what you think about your local community, now it’s time to ask others. Whether or not you have strong links to the area you hope to serve it’s always good to do some ‘objective research’. Finding out what councils and governments have written about the area in question may well give you an underlying awareness of local issues. A visit to the local library is as a good a place to start as any. If the books, statistics and reports seem a bit overwhelming ask a librarian for help in finding out about the particular area or issue you are interested in. You’ll probably find yourself sifting through ward/county and borough profiles and local authority departmental reports. Indications of specific issues of deprivation or poverty may be found in the number of elderly people living alone, the number of single parent families, the number of substandard accommodation units, the number of people living on or below the poverty line, the number of unemployed, the rate and nature of crime and proportion of failing schools. You might find other sources of local information too. The following list might give you a better idea of where to look to find out more about your community.

1) The Internet The internet is full of information about everything, anything and nothing. Simply punch in the name of your community at www.upmystreet.com or try www.statistics.gov.uk/neighbourhood.

2) Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (Local Childcare Partnerships in Scotland) These bodies may have facts about the children living in your community. Search online for ‘Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership’ followed by your region/community and you should be able to find the contact details or information for your area. Sure Start is also a useful place to look – www.surestart.gov.uk. This is a government programme that aims to achieve better outcomes for children, parents and communities by increasing the availability of childcare for all children, improving health, education and emotional development for young children and supporting parents in their aspirations towards employment.

3) Indices of Deprivation The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit has a record of the level of deprivation for every ward and local authority area in England. These are available online from the www.neighbourhood.gov.uk/indices.asp

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4) Local Statutory Information Local statutory bodies, such as social services or the health authority, have masses of information about your community. Why not contact your local council, explain that you are researching the needs of your particular community, and ask them if they have any studies of your community which they feel would be relevant and whether you can have access to them?

5) Local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) Your local CVS may be aware of other groups who have carried out recent surveys of your community. They may have access to any reports that were produced as a result, or at least know how you can get hold of them. Log on to www.nacvs.org.uk to find your local CVS.

6) The Police Contact your local or regional police and ask them what community problems they are aware of and whether they have crime statistics or crime prevention initiatives. Keep a record of who you contact; you may want to get in touch later on in the process once you have decided which area of action you feel called to focus on.

7) The Besom Foundation The Besom is a Christian charity based in South London. It helps people make a difference by connecting people who want to give money, time, skills, or things, with those who are in need. It ensures that what is given is used effectively. It mostly operates in London but centres are being established elsewhere in the country. The service it provides is free. Log on to www.besom.com for more information.

8) Other groups What other community initiatives are already in existence? What is their purpose? What issues and needs do they come across? Who runs them? What are other Christian groups doing in the area? Are there groups that could benefit from additional support? Are there significant needs that no group seems to be meeting at present?

What did you discover? Every community is different with different problems. When planning a Noise project, weekend or regular social action project it is extremely helpful to have this research in the back of our minds. If there is a poor education it might be wise to tailor your advertising so there’s not loads of text on flyers. If there are loads of single parents it might be good to include childcare services. If there is a high level of unemployment could the local church run a free series of sessions to help people with job applications or basic computer skills? All this stuff can really inform what you hope to do with your Noise or social action project making your efforts more effective at

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meeting real needs! You might find it helpful to get a few people to help you with the research and then you can all present what you’ve found out to everyone who’s interested in getting involved with your Noise events or projects. Statistics can be pretty boring so think about any interesting ways you can get across any major issues of deprivation or poverty. Stuff like posters, pie charts and photo’s will all help put realism on the statistics and information you’ve discovered. This research will give you an insight into some of the issues in your local area. However, statistics can only give a limited, and sometimes misleading, view of complex personal situations. Our next section will give you a few ideas of how to listen to the voices in your local community, putting a personal spin on what’s going on in the area you want to serve.

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Chapter 4: Who to ask? With a bit of objective or ‘hard’ research out the way, we can now move onto asking people exactly what they think about their community. But it’s not always that simple! Working out who to ask and how to ask them can be really tough. Young people might think the lack of facilities in an area is a major problem, whilst the older people might say the young people are the problem! As we find out more about our communities and the issues they face it might be worth targeting specific groups of people. Below is a list of people that you might find it helpful to listen to and ask what they think the needs of a community are:

Different Age groups in the community: Children, teenagers, young adults, 25-55-year-olds, early retirees, elderly people…

Community groups: Sports clubs, political associations, local residents’ associations, voluntary organisations, the Women’s Institute, youth clubs, parent and toddler groups…

Religious groups: Other churches, mosques, Hindu temples, synagogues…

Gatekeepers (people with particular insights!): Crime - community police, local Neighbourhood Watch committee member… Education - pre-school children’s workers, teachers, school governors, education welfare officers… Employment - ‘Job Centre’ managers, Social Security officers, local employers, school career advisers, unemployed people… Families - Citizens Advice Bureau debt counsellors, Relate marriage counsellors, shopkeepers, social workers… Health - Social Services, local GPs, local mental health organisations, local hospitals, people with mental health problems… Homelessness - Shelter workers, homeless people, local authority housing officers… Recreation - Leisure centre managers, publicans, betting shop managers, social club committee members… The key to understanding what the needs of a community are is to ask – and to listen. Doing this sort of stuff will require a bit of confidence and some specific skills. Anyone can knock on doors, visit a day centre or talk to a youth group, but it might be good to identify people who will enjoy this sort of thing. As we begin to ask people, we will begin to get a grip on some of the issues and problems that we can address over our Noise events and longer term initiatives.

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Of course, the person you need to listen to most is God. Praying may help you to think about people you have spoken to, missed and those who deserve special attention. Ask God to inform the decisions you will make.

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Chapter 5: How to ask? Once you’ve figured out who you’d like to ask you’ll need to consider how you will ask them. Chatting and talking through issues with friends is a lot easier than doing so with strangers. Similarly, an informal conversation might not really get down to the real issues. If you know bullying might be an issue in a certain area talking to a group of young people might prevent you from finding anything out about the situation as those who are bullied may be too scared to publicly say anything. Working out how to ask people what they know about their community might be a bit of a challenge! In section 2 we looked at how we map out areas of our community marking where we feel safe, unsafe and loads of other places too. We also showed you the ‘But why?’ flow chart that can help you get to the root causes of some of the problems you’ve identified. These are great tools for not just finding out what you think (as in section 2) but also for finding out what others think. If you’re involved in schools or youth work, have links with a local neighbourhood watch or other community/residents group you may get some great opportunities to ask people what they think using these techniques. Remember to be sensitive and up for learning something new! The list below is full of other ideas that you can use to help you get to know what other people think. Not everyone is an amazingly skilled and confident communicator so if you’re a little unsure about speaking to people you don’t know then maybe ask a more vocal friend to help you out. Have a look at the list and use the techniques to find out more about your local community: Questionnaires: These are useful for gathering large amounts of information really quickly, plus they can be anonymous (if handed out and asked to be returned) so people can say what they really think. You could drop them through letterboxes with a brief covering letter about what you want to do, knock on doors, hand them out at schools or youth clubs or simply walk around your area and ask people if they could spare a minute. They are great to be used with people you don’t know and can capture some really structured information that is easily classified and comparable. We haven’t included an example as it’s up to you to ask questions regarding your area! Community Mapping/ But why? If you have a few more minutes with someone, or a chance to chat to a group of people then the community mapping and ‘But why’ flowcharts (outlined in section 2) are a great way for someone to really illustrate how they feel about their area and then draw out the root causes of the problems they’ve identified. Some might find it a bit corny but the information gathered will be really helpful to you in working out what community needs are. Chatting: One of the simplest and least formal ways of finding out what people think is to just ask them! If you or

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your church is involved in any detached youth work you may find it helpful just to chat to young people who hang out in the area you want to serve. If you’re thinking of doing a Noise project with a big music event find out what sort of bands they like and what sort of things they get up to. Interviewing: We briefly introduced you to the idea of ‘gatekeepers’. These are people in the community who have a real knowledge of the area, key people who hold roles of responsibility or authority. You might want to chat to a local Police officer, head teacher or manager of a homeless shelter to find out a bit more about the issues they work with and face everyday. There are loads more ways you can connect with and get to know what people in your community think. Importantly this stuff, involving people in your planning process, isn’t just a one off phase. You should keep coming back to the people you are meeting and serving asking them what they think, giving them opportunities to get involved and helping you to evaluate what you are doing.

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Chapter 6: Sustainability Part of the point of this section is to make sure we meet needs effectively. Any discussion of serving the community must make a note of the sustainability of the projects or events that we are planning. We need to ensure that as we step out and serve we don’t give up half-way through! One of the great things about the Noise as a weekend of events is that it can be an amazing catalyst to longer-term community involvement. If you’ve undertaken a bunch of research and identified key needs such as youth boredom, and elderly people who are struggling to live on their own, a weekend with a youth café and a series of gardening/shopping services will only meet a need on an extremely short term basis. If your Noise projects seem a success then maybe there is a way they can be developed over a longer period! In Watford, the contacts made every year at the annual Noise weekend are followed up and members of the church serve on local estates one Saturday a month doing a range of activities from weeding to decorating. Many of the contacts are elderly people and the church helps out with gardening and other household jobs on a regular basis. Talking about sustainability doesn’t necessarily have to be a daunting prospect. The point here is that we consider our Noise weekends as ways of actively launching our churches involvement in the community. The weekend itself could act as a celebration of the churches work in the area over the year, as well as taking time to get a mass of people together to serve on specific larger projects. As we get to know the people we are serving, finding out what they think about their area and its problems we’ll see those issues are often quite persistent. We want to avoid the situation where the people we serve feel we have simply ‘run in’ and ‘run out’ of the area for a really short period. To help us ensure we’re effectively meeting needs we will have to consider the ways in which we can consistently serve and bless the people in our community. This may mean considering longer-term involvement. It may be helpful to think through some of the following questions to work out what happens after your project. If you’re doing a gardening project for an elderly lady how long will it be before she needs help again? Do you have the resources to offer that help? If you’re working on some projects in people’s homes will anyone follow up the teams with a phone call or visit? If you’re cleaning up a graffiti ridden wall how will you ensure that the wall stays clean? Thinking about sustainability draws us back to the root causes of the issues within a community. Involving people from the community in not just defining what a church will do, but actually how we do it means local people have ownership over the project and will potentially look to ensure the effects of a project are sustained.

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Example After a few years of successful community action a church in Hertfordshire was asked if it could do something about a really badly graffitied subway on a local estate. Residents felt uneasy walking through the subway and wanted to clean up the area. The church approached a local school and asked pupils to come up with designs for a mural. They also approached the railway operators who owned the subway and managed to get funding for the project which paid for weather proof/graffiti-resistant paint. Once the pupils had submitted their designs and come up with the ‘underwater theme’ the church organised the designs to be outlined onto the subway walls. Over the course of the weekend the school pupils came down to paint in the outlines of their designs. Other local residents and young people also helped to repaint the subway too. Residents brought drinks out to the teams and loved what was happening and got involved. As a result the subway has been maintained as the residents were involved in the project.

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Chapter 7: Partnership: Working with others When we begin to think about a community’s needs and how we can meet those needs we will inevitably come to a point where we realise we’ll need to work with others. Many Noise projects involve several churches, many involve external agencies or charities and all will involve the local community. Working with others can bring out some very complex issues so it’s really important that good communication skills and humility are used in equal measure!

Working with other churches There have been loads of really successful Noise projects and sustained initiatives that involve a wide array of churches across a whole town. In 2004 over 750 churches across London, many of whom had never worked together, joined together for the massive SOULINTHECITY initiative. Churches will have different attitudes and expectations of mission, evangelism, community action and service. No one perspective is perfectly right, but it is important that churches are comfortable in sharing the values that lay at the heart of the Noise (that being, saying and doing are at the heart of the great co-mission). It may be helpful to organise a steering committee that involves key representatives of each church so that all decisions are equally made. You may also want to come up with a simple statement of objectives that any debateable decisions can be held up to. Whatever way of working you choose it is fundamental that we respect what others think and allow them to be involved.

Working with other organisations or official bodies Working with organisations and councils can offer some really amazing benefits. Approaching councils or local shops, charities and other bodies may well prove to be a great way to raise funds or get some free resources for what you hope to do. Importantly the Noise is about seeing changed communities – a vision that is quite easy to sell and the larger your project the more likely different organisations will want to be involved and fulfil their aims of ‘working in the community’. If you’re thinking of approaching councils or local businesses it’s important that you draw guidelines around what is expected of each party. If a council were uneasy about the idea of Christianity being promoted at an event, or a business would like its logo all over your publicity then it may be good to evaluate the messages such partnerships would send into the community you hope to serve. The most important thing to remember in all partnerships is that the point of the Noise is to serve and love our neighbours, meeting their needs effectively. If you feel a potential partnership would undermine these aims, rather than further them, then it might be worth reconsidering the possibility of working together.

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Working with the community We’ve already established that we hope to serve the community, find out what people think and what people want to see happen. Essentially we also want to work with the community in undertaking our projects and events. As we serve and outwork the idea that involving people is essential to successful community action we will be working alongside all kinds of community members and groups. As the example of the subway above highlights unless we involve people and generate a sense of ownership over the Noise from the local community then our projects may not have a long term effect at all. Listening to local people, inviting representatives to planning meetings, asking people to have their say in evaluations and even giving community members specific roles at events (i.e. helping out in a youth café, hosting a evening concert or helping out with cooking at a barbeque) may seem to undermine the idea that we are serving and blessing the community. However, alternatively it may also help people to feel that the Noise is something they have helped to make happen and have a degree of ownership over… something that they will want to see happen regularly! Again, these are just tips and ideas to help you think through what would be appropriate in your locality rather than specific blueprints for every project.

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Chapter 8: Think (and pray) again At this stage you’ve asked yourself what you think the needs are in your community. You’ve also asked the community and potentially done a bit of objective research too. Before going on and jumping into a planning frenzy take some time out to think about what you’ve discovered. Pray about the issues that you’ve been speaking, hearing and reading about. In all stages of doing any Noise event or community action project it is essential we bring our findings, hopes and motivations back to God. We may need to confess attitudes we wrongly held about a community or a group of people and we’ll definitely need to ask God to work in us to take what we’ve learnt and help us to focus on the key issues or people he has put before us.

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 4: What ARE YOU GOING TO DO? At this stage you’ve probably got loads of information about your local community. You’ve asked yourself and the people who will be involved in ‘doing’ your Noise initiative what they think the areas needs are. You’ve consulted evidence in the form of formal stuff like county council reports and may have undertaken some research, and you’ve asked members of the local community what they think the problems are and what potential solutions to those problems could be. So now what do you do? Have a look and check out our suggestions.

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Chapter 1: What did you find out? At this stage you’ve probably got loads of information about your local community. You’ve asked yourself and the people who will be involved in ‘doing’ your Noise initiative what they think the area’s needs are. You’ve consulted evidence in the form of formal stuff like county council reports and may have undertaken some research, and you’ve asked members of the local community what they think the problems are and what potential solutions to those problems could be. This is a massive amount of information. The point now is to narrow down all the issues and opinions you’ve heard to work out what the key problems of your community are. Once you’ve identified these things it’s then simpler to plan projects and events that can specifically meet a community’s needs. This section is about helping you take what you’ve learnt and make sure we respond to the needs and desires of our community.

Sifting through Get a couple of mates together with the notes you’ve made in your previous research and begin to list all the different issues and needs that you’ve discovered. Write each one on a piece of paper or Post-It note. Did the majority of people identify one specific issue? Is there a common ground between all the bits of research you’ve done? Begin to rank the issues noting the most important problems that the people you spoke to mentioned. See if this stuff relates to the things you found out when you yourself thought about your community. Try and narrow your list down to a couple of key issues that you could then focus on during your Noise weekend/community action initiative (it might be that many issues are connected and can be linked in someway e.g. a detached elderly community and lack of local services and shops).

Sorting out You may now have a couple of key issues. Spend some time with a group of mates focussing on these issues one by one and further investigate the problem (it’s good to limit the number of issues to a few – if you’ve only got one then that’s fine). Have a think through the following questions to clarify what was said and found out about the problem. 1. Did the people you spoke to think the issue was significant in the community? If so, what reasons were given? 2. What did the people you spoke to think was the impact of the issue on the community? 3. What did the people you spoke to think were the main causes of the issue? 4. In what ways is the issue already being addressed?

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5. Did the people you spoke to make any suggestions for how they thought these issues could be addressed? 6. What other significant comments did the people you spoke to make? 7. Are there any comments or observations you wanted to make? 8. Would the people you spoke to be interested in finding out the results of your research? 9. Was there anyone that you’d want to talk to further about these issues?

Making conclusions You may now want to spend some time drawing conclusions about what you’ve discovered. Do local people think an issue is significant? Do you think it’s significant? What are the most important issues you’ve identified? Do the issues affect one particular age group specifically? You may want to discuss and agree on a few major areas. You could do this by writing a list as follows:

The biggest issues facing the New Town Estate are: Joy riding Graffiti People feel unsafe Gangs Drug abuse You could focus this list more specifically on a single age or people group as below:

The biggest issues facing young people on the New Town Estate are: Lack of things to do Lack of places to hang out Lack of positive role models Ease of getting hold of drugs Peer pressure Parents prefer their kids to be out of the house As you begin to list these issues you may want to undertake a further ‘But why?’ analysis to get to some of the root causes of a problem. From the made up example above it’s obvious that young people in the New Town estate are offering the community a few social disorder problems. From this it’s fairly easy to see that youth boredom and lack of positive role models - in the home and beyond – may be key issues to the New Town estate. In a sense, a Noise project in New Town that ignored the issues facing young people and just tried to clean graffiti or heighten security would misunderstand the key problems facing young people in New Town and people would still feel unsafe and the youth would continue to cause problems.

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What key issues have you drawn from your research within the community? Can you identify what is causing these issues? Can you see any specific groups who are most severely affected? Can you see any ways where you can meet the needs of the community?

Sharing conclusions With these issues, lists and questions in mind you’ll want to begin to share what you’re discovering with other people. Our commitment to involving others means we should ask the community if they agree with our conclusions and our potential solutions. If you’ve chatted to people in the community then maybe go back and see what they reckon to your thoughts and make amendments to your ideas as you invite feedback.

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Chapter 2: What is possible? At this point we’ve worked out some of the things that are key issues to the community. We now want to seriously start thinking about what we can do to make a difference to people’s lives and meet their needs. The more and more we look into our community’s problems the more likely it is that we begin to feel overwhelmed by the task of meeting needs. Indeed, many of the problems in our community are enormous, and offer no quickfix solutions. However, small actions can make a difference. The people of Israel returned from exile to see the temple lying in ruins. They despaired at the huge task ahead of them. For many, Zerubbabel’s act of getting out his plumb line and beginning to make measurements for the new temple must have seemed like a bad joke. But as the angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah, ‘Who despises the day of small things?’ (Zech. 4:10). Hopelessly inadequate though Zerubbabel’s act seemed to be, from such small beginnings the temple was again rebuilt. From small beginnings, you too can make a difference.

Issues, symptoms and causes We need to make sure that the things we end up doing in the community are connected to meeting the needs of the community. In this section you’ll briefly work through defining an issue, looking at its symptoms and their causes and then discovering what we can do to tackle those causes! From your research, using the ‘But why?’ diagrams and some of the other info you’ve gathered, work out what the major situation is. Could it be youth boredom, isolation of elderly people or something else? Then working back from these issues write down ways that these problems manifest themselves. So the ‘issue’ of elderly isolation might result in a poor diet, loneliness and lack of social interaction. These are the symptoms that result from the major issue. From here you can begin to work out the causes of these symptoms. So, a poor diet might be the result of poor public transport or lack of local services as elderly people might not be able to drive themselves to shops or facilities that are located further a-field. Fear of being mugged might prevent people from leaving their homes and therefore cause a lack of social interaction. What we’re hoping to do is make links between our major issue, the ways these issues manifest in the community (the symptoms) and the causes of these symptoms. You might find it helpful to draw a spider diagram as outlined below.

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Issue:

Symptoms:

Isolation of elderly

Loneliness, poor diet and lack of social interaction Families live far away, poor public transport, fear of being mugged

Causes:

Draw a similar diagram to illustrate and make links between a specific issue, its symptoms (how that issue shows itself) and the causes of those symptoms that are present in your community.

Working out your mission? Despite all of this being a bit of hard work, defining a major issue, its symptoms and the causes of those symptoms help us make sense of exactly what we can do to meet a community’s needs. If we look at the diagram above there are positive actions that we can take to tackle the small problems labelled under causes. We could try and connect people to their families, work to see better public services, offer assistance to elderly people by helping with their shopping or offer places and venues where elderly people can interact without feeling vulnerable. All of these should in turn help to cure the symptoms and therefore undermine the key issue of isolation. In a sense we can work from the bottom up, perhaps doing some small and specific things to tackle a major issue. Our response to the issue/symptom/cause diagram above is to define our situation, mission and aims. In working out an issue, we can define a situation to involve ourselves in. In noting the symptoms of that issue we can put flesh on our mission. In knowing what causes the problems in our communities we can work out what we aim to do. The diagram below shows how thinking laterally and turning the negative causes, symptoms and issues into a positive set of aims, missions and situations can help us decide exactly what we can do to make a difference.

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All this may seem a bit much and a bit obvious. But it is important that we test our assumptions about what a community needs. We must make links between our projects and acts of service with the actual meeting of community needs so that we actively make a difference to people’s lives. You may find it helpful to draw your own diagrams based on the examples given above. Work out what the issue(s), symptoms and causes of those symptoms are, and then in response define the situation, mission and aims of what you hope to do. From these sorts of diagrams you can then write a specific mission statement that can define the whole, or a part of, your Noise or community action initiative. Look at a diagram that you have completed and fill in the blanks of the following sentences: 1. Situation We live in a community where the issue of ___________ is a particular need. 2. Mission In response to this we believe we are being called to ____________ 3. Aims We aim to meet the need by ____________ For the example of elderly isolation we’ve been working on, a possible mission statement would be:

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“We live in a community where the issue of isolated elderly people is a particular need. In response to this we believe we are being called to reduce loneliness, provide better diets and increase their interaction with others. We aim to meet the need by strengthening connections with their family, improving transport and making the community a safer place for them.” Importantly once we’ve defined our mission statement we can begin to plan projects, schemes and events that will fulfill our aims. Having a mission statement and undertaking the process of asking yourself and the community what they think whilst making links between needs and their ‘root causes’ gives us a set of concrete aims which we can work to in order to really meet our communities needs.

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Chapter 3: Hard choices The next step in the planning process is to start identifying specific projects that will fulfil your mission statement(s). As Noise initiatives we want to show the community Jesus, meeting their needs as we go. Having a mission statement to work out if potential project ideas will meet community needs is essential. It means that all project ideas, from litter picking through to graffiti removal are held up to what we see the community’s needs to be. Planning community action projects in this way might mean we make some tough decisions about what we’ve done in the past. Just because ‘we’ve always done it this way’ doesn’t always mean we’re meeting a need and we should check our ideas with our research and understanding of what the community needs and wants.

Spontaneity versus planning The purpose of all we’ve looked at so far is to encourage us to ‘do’ Noise projects well. You don’t have to use all the tools and charts, but we hope you will actively consult and engage the community, coming up with projects that you know meet real needs, rather than perceived ones. Saying all of this, a major aspect of the Noise in the past has been spontaneity. Getting young people passionate about serving and loving their neighbours in the most practical and down to earth ways. We’re desperate to maintain this focus and not let ourselves get lost in months of planning and research. Jesus uses the example of the Good Samaritan to answer the question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ In this story we hear of a guy who naturally and spontaneously acts to serve someone in desperate need. There will be some occasions and projects where the thought of immense planning will seem ridiculous as a need is clearly obvious and easily met by our immediate action. We need to ask God for wisdom and guidance. On the majority of occasions spending time planning, thinking and asking about how we can best serve the community will be essential. At other points we don’t want to suppress our desire and responsibility to act to meet immediate need in over zealous planning. It may well be about striking a balance. Importantly, you will be thinking about how you can make your Noise or community action events more and more focussed on meeting community needs and using the planning tools we’ve supplied will really help you to do just that.

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Chapter 4: Resources versus dreams Knowing what community needs are and having a mission statement to work to will inevitably help you to identify all sorts of projects and areas of service that you can undertake. However, we need to ensure our dreams will match our resources. It’s no use trying to deal with the issue of youth boredom by planning a youth café that noone can run or if there’s no venue to house the idea! It may seem simple, but it’s easy to overlook some of the detail of even the smaller projects you might want to run. If you’re doing a small gardening or decorating project who will supply the spades, trowels, paint and paint brushes? Does the church you belong to have the money to pay for these and would they be willing to pay? Who will provide transport for the team? There are loads and loads of questions that you’ll need to think through to ensure that your resources can match what you hope to do. Knowing what resources you have at your disposal can often mean we know exactly what we can achieve. Essentially the number of people available, the funds we’ve raised or been given and the equipment we are able to use must all realistically fit with the project ideas that we are thinking about.

Is it smart? Perhaps one thing to ask is ‘Is my idea for a project smart?’ Not is it a bit clever, but does it match smart criteria. Once you and the community members you’ve interacted with have generated a few ideas for projects consider the following questions: Specific: Is the project specifically related to an issue you’ve identified? Measurable: Can you measure whether you are tackling this issue or not? Achievable: Is the project achievable in the time you expect to have? Realistic: Are the goals and the actions realistic in terms of the resources you have available? Timed: How will you know the project has been completed? These questions and other tools are here to help us make sure that we ‘do the Noise’ well. Asking these questions and being realistic at an early stage may help us to really identify ways in which we can adapt what we have to meet specific SMART needs! NB: You may notice we haven’t given too many examples of projects in this section. As you come to a point where you have researched, asked others and asked yourself, it’s up to you to identify projects that will work specifically in your area. We want to help you get to a point where you know what will work in your community rather than

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just supply you with loads of ideas. The more and more we use these resources, thinking creatively as we go, the more we’ll be able to work out what sort of projects will meet the needs of our community!

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Chapter 5: Just the beginning? You may have got to a point where you realise that the needs of your community are pretty massive! What you’ve discovered might feel pretty daunting and you might also feel that a weekend of events, as the Noise has traditionally been, won’t really achieve too much. However, don’t be put off. The issues and needs of a community will be enduring and persistent, and as people who’ve understood these needs we can act to do something about them. In many ways the research you’ve done and the hopes that you have can equip you to do something that will meet needs and develop relationships over the long term. In many ways your research is just the beginning of a commitment to regular involvement in your community. Why not use the Noise weekend as a launch pad to further community involvement? The people you’ve met, the relationships you’ve developed and the projects you’ve undertaken can all be followed up, with further projects, support and regular acts of service developing from your initial events. Every year the Noise weekend can act as a focus of your churches community involvement - an involvement that meets needs through regular small acts of service over the rest of the year. In many ways you don’t want to ‘put all your eggs in one basket’ either. It’s great to have a weekend of focussed activity but we also want the community to want more from us too! Knowing that certain needs will only be met over long term involvement will mean we can continue to serve in smaller projects and initiatives throughout the year that will illustrate that we really care and are committed to our communities.

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Chapter 6: Make a decision You’re now at a point to make a decision about what project(s) you will be able to undertake. You’ve sifted through your research and made conclusions. You’ve worked out a mission statement and asked what is possible. You’ve checked that your resources match your dreams and also asked whether a particular project idea is SMART or not. Finally you’ve considered how your Noise project/weekend or social action initiative can lead to greater involvement in your community. Now you’re ready to make decisions regarding the nature of the projects. As you think about a gardening initiative, a house makeover or a community event the following questions will help you clarify what you are doing and how it will happen? What are you going to do? What need are you trying to meet? Who will be responsible (team leader)? How many people are needed and how will they get there? What tools will you need to complete the job? Will volunteers need any training? Are you dealing with a resident and if so will they know what to expect? How long will the project take? Are there any insurance or child protection issues with what you are planning? Do you need to advertise/publicise what you are doing? What will follow up look like and who will take responsibility for it? Again, some of these questions might throw up a mass of issues. However, our next section starts to get really practical… you’ll be looking at some of the intricacies of actually doing a social action project, giving you extra resources and tools to use as you go!

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 5: WHERE TO BEGIN? So far we’ve looked through all types of planning in terms of researching exactly what you can do to meet your community’s needs. This section takes that planning onto a practical level, working out exactly how you can put what you hope to do into practise. In this section, you’ll find schedules, advice on risk assessments and budgets, some stuff on insurance and managing what you’re up to and a few template letters and marketing resources to help you on the way! There’s loads more besides and some of it may seem a bit obvious so if you know a lot of this then that’s fine! Also some of the advice we’ve included, regarding more technical aspects of event planning, may appear very general. Each situation and context will be different, so even if the tips in this part of the CD ROM seem great, it’s always best to ensure you stick to your church’s policies regarding insurance, child protection, risk assessments and other legal issues.

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Chapter 1: Schedules As a guide, this timetable might help you to begin planning your initiatives, weekends or projects. It’s split into four areas: team, finance, operations and marketing. How many of the boxes you fill in will depend on what you’re planning to do. The ideas that are incorporated aim to help you think what you need to be doing, however, this isn’t an exhaustive list. You’ll have to adapt this, adding or taking away relevant things, to your own context. Team 6 months

5 months

4 months

Finance

Undertake research. Talk to local church leaders and local people. Meet and pray. Check www.soulaction.org For ideas and to sign up your project. Finalise project ideas. Appoint management team and define roles. Keep researching and asking people what they think. Keep church leaders informed till event. Continue speaking to local people about what you’re planning to do.

3 months

Write finalised job descriptions for all team members. Talk to community.

2 months

Plan follow up. Talk to community.

1 month

Team training. Prayer events.

2 weeks

Team training. Prayer events.

1 week

Talk to community members you’ll be serving. PUT PLAN INTO ACTION! Review meeting with all team. Start evaluation and contact local residents gaining their views. Plan follow up projects if appropriate. Thank you letters and review of the project report. Talk to community.

Project +1 week

+ 1 month

Operations

Marketing

Set budgets. Write to local businesses for support.

List all materials required, and develop in run up to event.

Plan website

Manage funding through to event.

Update requirements lists as ideas and plans emerge. Check insurance concerns. Approach retail outlets for equipment. Define child protection statements. Plan weekend timetable and risk assess larger events/projects. Plan detailed weekend timetable. Have all materials and equipment.

Design website Contact local press to present idea.

Make specific needs public for fundraising.

Send publicity to wider church in area. Publish website. Begin regular Press Releases. Draw up info packs. Follow up local media and continue through to event. Focused and deliberate distribution of info packs.

Return all materials. Reconcile accounts. Produce report for donors.

Thank you letters to all suppliers.

Publish post-weekend presentation and follow up Press Releases and details.

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A Whole Weekend? More often than not Noise events take place over a Bank Holiday weekend allowing a focussed time of community service projects and events to take place. As mentioned earlier these weekends are great opportunities to celebrate a church’s community involvement throughout the year or launch longer-term initiatives. Whether or not you undertake a Noise weekend or stick with specific and regular projects is your choice. However, we’ve included some stuff here to help you think through how to get started on planning a weekend! Below we’ve also outlined what a weekend could look like, using the formula from Noise events, Manchester 2000 and SOULINTHECITY - though you could easily adapt the plan to suit your own timescale needs. The weekend we suggest runs from Friday evening through to the end of Sunday (or Monday if you are conducting your project on a Bank Holiday weekend). We try and split up the days of a particular weekend to ensure different stuff happens in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Mornings Traditionally there are times each day where teams gather to pray, worship and get envisioned for the projects they will be involved with in the afternoon. Taking time out to worship, learn and pray together help to set the tone for the rest of the day.

Afternoons This is when the projects are carried out. This is when you get to carry out your work big or small. Everything from gardening to setting up a small portable nail bar have been tried!

Evenings The evenings are free for you to do as you want, according to your resources; time off; a casual meal at someone’s house; a prayer meeting; social time together as a team; outreach cafes; gig events or a citywide evening celebration. (It will be important for you to create clear programmes for the evening to maintain momentum throughout the weekend.) During the SOULINTHECITY 2004 event, different areas of London held massive outdoor events including everything from relaxed cafés to loud gigs. In the South West of London, a big outdoor event was held in Peckham Square, with loads of Christian bands and DJs. Patrick Regan who helped coordinate the evening highlighted how incredible the event proved to be: ’At the Peckham concert anyone who wanted healing was invited to put his or her hands in the air. These people

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were then prayed over by the scores of delegates who helped make the event such a success. A council worker who looked after the Square even commented, “This is like heaven on earth.”’

Bank Holiday Party The Noise weekend is traditionally over the first Bank holiday weekend in May. This has seen many Noise initiatives build their projects and events into a climax with the last afternoon of the weekend culminating in a big party! This has been anything from an informal meal around someone’s house, to a full on street carnival or mass barbeque. Not only is it great fun, but also you get to invite all the people you’ve served to come along and hang out. BMX competitions, football and netball matches, DJ workshops, music performances and loads more have all been planned to coincide with a big community barbeque. To illustrate how this tends to look check the weekend schedule below: Time

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Monday

9am 10am

Morning team meeting,Morning team meeting/Morning team meeting,

11am

10-12

Church Service 10-12

10-12

12pm

Lunch, 12-2

Lunch, 12-2

Lunch, 12-2

Projects, 2-5

Projects, 2-5

Projects, 2-4

1pm 2pm 3pm Community Party, 4-6

4pm 5pm

Regroup

Regroup

6pm

Dinner

Dinner

7pm

Dinner Regroup and Review Projects

8pm

Evening

9pm

Celebration/

Outreach/

Church Service/

Outreach/

Team Meeting/

Team Meeting,

Outreach/

Team Meeting, 8-10

Outreach, 8-10

8-10

Team Meeting, 8-10

Evening Celebration/ Evening Celebration/

Evening Celebration/

10pm 1pm

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Using the timetable template, you may want to create an hour-by-hour timetable of what is happening for each of the following people who will be involved in the weekend: 1) A general timetable with copies for each volunteer 2) Individual timetables for each team leader 3) Individual timetable for co-ordinators of different areas (if you’re doing a bigger event) 4) Your own personal timetable The general timetable will want to include times and venues of the following things: 1) Delegate Registration 2) Team meetings 3) Prayer, worship, teaching times 4) Feedback and testimonies 5) Transport from morning meeting to projects 6) Project timetable of events and locations 7) Lunch/dinner breaks 7) Transport back from projects 8) Evening arrangements 9) Bank Holiday Monday community celebration arrangements

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Chapter 2: Safety of Projects and Events Depending on what sort of projects or events you’re planning to undertake you’ll want to ensure that both your team members and the people you are serving are safe. If you’re doing any gardening projects with potentially dangerous equipment, planning an evening concert or just working on a unfamiliar estate, you’ll want to take time to check people know what they are doing and that you aren’t putting them in situations where they could be injured or harmed.

Risk assessments A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what could cause harm to people. You undertake a risk assessment so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. People have a legal right to be protected from harm caused by a failure to take reasonable control measures so you need to be prepared to risk assess your projects and events. As part of a local church you should be able to use your churchs risk assessment procedures to help you maintain the safety of your projects and events. As churches often involve large gatherings of people they will have certain procedures that can direct you in ensuring your projects remain safe. These procedures should be able to be extended to provide risk assessments for any external events a church organises. You are likely to need to assess the likelihood of trips, falls, slips and other accidents or injuries that may occur whilst on a specific project or event. Organising a community barbeque that involves potentially hazardous equipment will mean undertaking a risk assessment that will attempt to minimise the threat of burns or other injuries. The most important aspect of any risk assessment is to put in place systems to reduce the risk of injury and harm as far as is reasonably possible. Systems, policies and rules should be used to reduce these risks. Some may already be in place and need matching up in documentary form, whereas others may be new. To get the proper low-down on how to undertake risk assessments check the governments health and safety website: www.hse.gov.uk

First aid Now matter how much planning you do, accidents do happen. It’s much better to be safe than sorry, so ensuring you have a first aid team on hand, who are easily accessible and adequately trained will be essential (many church’s insurance depends on the presence of first aiders). Depending on the scale of your projects you may either want to give each team leader a 2 way radio so if any incidents arise a call can be made to a member of the first aid team extremely quickly. If this seems too much, generate a mobile phone list including contacts for all team leaders and the designated first aid team. Circulate copies of this list to all team leaders and make

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sure people know who to call in an emergency. Obviously the more people you have attending you event the more first aiders you will need. Arrange first aid training if necessary and consider whether to have a GP on the team, or on call from a local surgery. In any case, if you are bringing in a number of young people into an area for a project, notify the nearest Health Centre. (An example medical consent form and liability disclaimer are included in the appendices.)

Emergency Provision Ensure that you have adequately thought through emergency provision and procedures. Inform local emergency services of what you are doing and your location beforehand, with a prepared plan of action in the event of emergency. 1.

Have mobile phones/walkie-talkies available at all locations to call emergency services. Ideally, all team leaders should have mobile phones with their numbers listed at a central control point.

2.

Names of team with each set of team leaders should be available at the control centre.

3.

Ensure small team leaders know who the first aider(s) is, and where to locate a first aid kit.

4.

Ensure team leaders are aware of how to contact emergency services and how to identify themselves, the nature of the emergency and their location.

5.

Run through different scenarios in training e.g. what would you do in the event of a volunteer having what would seem to be an epileptic fit?

6.

Ensure medical forms to report injuries are available if necessary.

7.

Know how you will evacuate people where appropriate.

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Chapter 3: Insurance and licences Thinking through insurance and the need for licences may seem like a major turn off in planning community action initiatives. As with advice on risk assessments earlier, our tips will err on the general as many of your projects and plans will be specific to your event and area. If you are doing any public event you will have to check whether your church’s Public Liability Insurance covers any claims that could potentially be made over the course of your projects. If you are holding an event with live music in a public area you should consult you local council, as you may need to apply for a specific licence to do so.

Insurance Each church will have some kind of public insurance and will have legal representatives who can advise you on the best course of action. All churches should have Public Liability Insurance. This should be able to be extended to cover volunteers (anyone who is at a project working with the church) and staff for anything that the church may be negligent for during the course of a social action project. So if a team member is hurt whilst using a faulty piece of equipment supplied by the church then the church should be covered. Public Liability Insurance should also cover accidents local residents have that could potentially be attributed to the churches involvement. This kind of insurance does not cover damage to a team member’s personal property so discourage people from bringing ipods and expensive personal items! Similarly if volunteers do something stupid and are considered negligent then you won’t be to blame. If this is the case it is essential that you have accurate risk assessments which highlight team members have been told of risks and encouraged to act accordingly. NB: It is essential that you speak to your insurance provider to check the company is happy to cover your Noise or social action event. It may well be that your premium has to rise because of the nature of the events.

Licences Any event that is "for the purposes of, or for purposes incidental to, a religious meeting or service" will not need a licence. This doesn't mean that any event that is run in a church is covered. If you are planning any kind of event where music is being played publicly, food is served and people are gathering together, potentially you’ll need some form of licence. The best thing to do in this instance is to contact your local council and speak with the ‘Licensing Officer’. This person will be able to answer any queries you have and they’ll let you know what kind of licence, if any, you will need.

There are different types of licences depending on the duration of your event and what you plan to do. Longer term projects may need a ‘Premises Licence’ which takes several months to receive and can incur quite a high

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cost (potentially into the £1000’s). If you’re planning a one day event then you may qualify for a ‘Temporary Event Notice’. There is small cost to this notice and you’ll need to contact the local Police and Council up to two weeks before the event to make sure the application isn’t contested. This notice will allow you up to three days of public entertainments so may be much more suited to your needs. This is just very general information and it is essential you contact your local ‘Licensing Officer’ to investigate what you may need to do. Legal requirements and laws concerning licences do change so always check with your council on the best course of action. Similarly if you are providing food at any public event you’ll need to adhere to health and safety procedures. This will mean ensuring food and the people cooking/serving maintain appropriate levels of hygiene. Not everyone will need a Food and Hygiene Certificate, but it is likely that at least one team member will need to be officially trained and qualified in food hygiene to ensure your events meet local council health and safety requirements. This person will need to oversee any food preparation and service you do as part of your event. For more detailed information and to find your local Licensing Officer check www.culture.gov.uk

Contacting the right people On top of contacting your council, if you are planning certain specific events, you’ll also need to contact other bodies and organisations too. Many Noise events have held free car washes and so you’ll need to be in touch with the local/regional water board to check whether they will allow it and let you use the water for free. Similarly you may also want to get in touch with the local fire brigade and see if they’d be wiling to let you use a standpipe and hose! Make sure in whatever you’re planning that you contact the right people and get permission for what you are doing. This includes everyone from local residents up to the local council.

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Chapter 4: Budgets, finances and funding Unless you are embarking on a long term project it is likely that your Noise initiative will not cost too much money. There may be costs for equipment, temporary event notices, food and other bits and pieces, but generally your projects will be manned and undertaken by committed volunteers. However, for each project you undertake you’ll want to draw up an equipment list and if your church (or members of your church) cannot supply these things you’ll have to think about buying the materials. It might help, from these equipment lists to make detailed budgets of the costs of each project and also detail all expected expenditure in everything from administration to marketing and operations. If you’re planning a community barbeque don’t forget costs of food, burgers and all sorts of other things like face paints or PA systems. If you’ve got some really dedicated team leaders you might also want to buy them a little thank you gift too! If your church is behind the initiative then you may be able to put on a specific fundraising event or hold a service where the focus is the local community. You could potentially ask the congregation to donate money to the costs of the initiative. Alternatively you could run a series of fundraising events and get involved in everything from fun runs to sponsored silences. The important thing is you estimate what the costs of your weekend to be and budget accordingly. Many projects will have minimal overheads, but as you expand and hope to work more regularly it is good to be thinking about how you’ll be able to afford to fulfil certain aims.

Grant making trusts There are thousands of grant making trusts in the UK. These are organisations set up specifically to give money away. Good websites for getting you started in your search are: www.charity-commission.gov.uk www.funderfinder.org.uk It is worth talking to your Council Voluntary Service or Council for Voluntary Organisations, details of which can be found in your local library, or your local Thomson directory. Some trusts will give to Christian projects, some to youth projects, some to Social Work projects and others to a specific geographical area. Asking a trust for money is all about matching your needs with their criteria for giving. It is better, therefore, to talk to the trust first to clarify their areas of focus and make sure that they help you give them back the most appropriate request for money. This saves time in the long run.

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If you can meet the administrator or trustees of the trust, that is your best option. Contacts you have within church, the Mayor, your MP, or other local politicians, may well know some of these people and you need to ask them for help to ensure your proposal gets in front of the right trustees in the right way at the right time! Grant making trusts usually do not require anything in return for their gift, but it is important to keep in touch with them as the project progresses, and continue good relationships for future fund raising endeavours. Clarify whether the trustees/trust wish their name to be identified when you write a thank you letter or discuss financial contributions publicly.

Getting free stuff! We’ve already looked a little at working with local businesses and organisations, but if you are struggling to see how you’ll afford 200 burgers and buns to feed the local community, or are running out of decent sports equipment to hold a respectable football training programme it might be worth considering contacting local business and organisation to ask for their help. Many large national businesses have specific departments that work on ‘corporate responsibility’ and community investment. One Noise event held in Watford saw the local Asda superstore donate a load of food to help with the community barbeque. Similarly a football training project that began as a result of the Noise on a local Watford estate now has amazing support from Watford Football Club and their sponsors Total Oil. These sponsors have put in money and bought kits, goals, equipment and even supplied training ideas and paid for volunteers to become qualified coaches. It is always good to enquire (an example letter to a local superstore about the Watford Noise is included in the appendices) but make sure you remember some of the hints and tips about working with external agents (section 3, chapter 7). They are likely to have specific motives for community involvement so it is wise to draw boundaries and define exactly what sort of role they are expected to provide.

The following ideas may prove fruitful too: 1) Approach the manager of your local DIY store, explaining the initiative, and see if they are willing to support you by providing you with discounted or free items. 2) Write to manufacturers of the items you require, explain your initiative and what it is you are hoping they would be able to provide. Even if they are not able to meet your specifications they may have alternative suggestions. 3) Contact your local supermarket, and explain the nature of your event and the BBQ that you are having. It may be that they will be willing to provide part or all of the food required at no or discounted charge.

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4) Approach companies that have a tradition of cooperating with local community development projects. Companies like The Body Shop or Starbucks are committed to improving the communities they do business in. See if they are able to supply you with resources that will help you in your mission. 5) Contact the local press and see if they are able to provide free advertising space requesting supplies or at least to advertise one of your events. If seeking press involvement, ensure you communicate your intentions very clearly. If your local press appear unfavourable to a seemingly religious agenda you may want to give it a miss. 6) Contact your local MP, and communicate what you are planning. It may be that s/he has contacts that are able to assist you.

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Chapter 5: Finding a core team Hopefully, you’re not doing this all on your own! Through your research and planning it’s likely you’ve drawn together a few people who will be really interested in what you want to do. These will be people who are passionate about their local community, people who may have links with the community already and people who share the vision of meeting needs, showing people Jesus and doing both of these things well! Essentially you’ll want to establish a core team giving different people different responsibilities. It will also be helpful to appoint an overall project manager to oversee these roles. None of these need to be jobs that are formally set in stone and salaried, but you’ll find it helpful if specific people can take responsibility over the following areas: Administration Operations Teams Marketing Welfare And if you’re planning a larger project requiring funding: Finance (Example job descriptions for all these roles and more are included in the appendices.) Depending on the size of your initiative some of these jobs may be able to be done by the same person. However, it’s great to be able to be as inclusive as possible and involve as many people as you can in the planning and running of your events. To see a possible overall management structure of those involved in the Noise have a quick look at a suggested Team Structure (section 6, chapter 4). All of these descriptions are not intended to scare people by giving them a load of responsibility they can’t handle. They are included as helpful ways of defining what people are expected to do and making sure that all your tasks get done. The overall project manager will need to be sensitive to the needs of their team and make sure no-one is overworked… especially if all involved are working voluntarily. On top of these responsibilities everyone on your team is likely to be involved in the continual research and relationship building with the community you hope to serve. You may want to appoint someone specifically to coordinate ‘community liaison’ and oversee relationships with community members and groups (see appendices) but essentially all members of the team will need to consider how they can involve themselves in

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the life of the area you are collectively hoping to serve.

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Chapter 6: Spreading the word It is important we get one thing straight. These projects are principally about serving the local community as an act of worship. Loving people because we love God. In doing so we hope to express God’s unconditional love and kindness to the community about us. To that end everything we do is an expression of the activity of the church. By marketing, we do not mean conning or manipulating people to believe something that isn’t true nor hyping them up. But we do mean maximising the message of your outreach through a little thought and consideration. Our second principle is that these works are done in secret, with any ‘good report’ coming from others mouths and not our own. That’s sensible too. We’re not proclaiming the solution to all of society’s woes. We’re not. We’re litter picking and cleaning graffiti. Our hope is that God uses it to express His love to others – that He cares deeply about them and their situation. However, for a larger project there will be a need to communicate what you are doing clearly. For an extensive project to not come across as interfering and in order for it to work, it will need the support, albeit passive, of local movers and shakers, in particular the carers and volunteers doing so much work in the community already.

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Chapter 7: Information packs One helpful way of getting the right information to the people you want to inform is by creating ‘information packs’. These are just small folders full of information about the Noise, which are targeted to suit the needs of a specific audience. Although each audience may be a little different and you’ll want to vary each pack accordingly, you may still want to include some of these elements whomever you’re communicating to: •

Short paragraph on who you are and what the Noise is all about.

Explanation of what your projects will involve, who is making up the team and why you are doing them

A short paragraph on being a faith-based initiative, but one that’s inclusive in who participates and who is served

The role the organisation/individual you are sending it to could play

List of sponsors

Possible website links, to include your own, www.soulsurvivor.com/uk and www.soulaction.org

Video presentation

CD-Rom presentation

A copy of Urban Legends or the SOULINTHECITY DVD (SOULINTHECITY 2004)

Contact details

Board of reference, endorsements

Specific audiences Local government and Voluntary Sector Pack You may want to put a pack together to give to local councillors, the constituency’s MP, and the Voluntary Sector (including nightshelters, hostels, HIV hospices, residential retirement complexes, youth groups, and the complex variety of agencies addressing different social situations in your town.) It will be good to designate a specific person/team to follow up these contacts.

Local press and media pack Your local paper or radio station may be interested in running a story or two on your project. Contact them with a press release outlining your intentions, and mention any sponsorship deals you have. You may want to schedule press releases over the next six months keeping people updated on developments for projects, and any sponsorship deals. Even if the local newspaper do not run a story initially, if you are able to provide regular and dependable updates they may find them useful on a particularly quiet week.

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A good press release includes the who, what, where, when and why in the first paragraph (you can expand more detail in the following paragraphs). Also include a quote from a significant person so the newspaper catches the heart of what you’re doing. Keep it short and be sure to include things the local press will want to hear about. Human interest stories, good photo opportunities and local statistics are sure to grab attention. Designate a press contact/spokesperson and add them to the press release (see appendices for Marketing Coordinator job description). You can also call a local papers ‘news desk’ to tell them about your events and see if they’d like to send a photographer. If photographers or TV crews are documenting any celebrations, you will want to ensure there are clearly defined boundaries on where and when filming or photography can and cannot take place. We would advise against a ‘free roaming’ pass at an event as film can easily be distorted and misrepresent an event. Remember to respect the dignity and privacy of your participants. Why not approach your local radio station and see if they would be able to provide a ‘helpline.’ Tied in with a special feature programme, the station could let the community know what supplies and volunteers are needed to meet the project goals.

Residents and Community Bulletin Ultimately, you are serving the local residents of the area you are working in. You will want to have their involvement and awareness in order to serve them, so why not produce a bright and busy newsletter letting them know what you are hoping to do. Logistically you will probably need to publish something so people know who to call if they want their garden done, or the trolley removed from their patch, etc. So you could also put something together that lets them know about Church services too. Remember to know who your audience is, and make sure you are speaking about what is of interest to them.

Church and potential-team publicity As part of ‘selling’ your vision, you may want to print a poster, photocopy some flyers, phone or email local pastors. Regular email bulletins are a helpful way to keep the accumulating team in touch with developments and involved through prayer.

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 6: Who’s GOING to Help? As you’ve been planning and planning your Noise event, involving people in your research about meeting needs and getting a core team around you, you’ll begin to realise that you’re going to need a lot of help to actually make a difference and put your plans into practise. This section is all about involving team, getting people to help and working out who can do what.

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Chapter 1: Team members and training One of the points behind the Noise that we mentioned right at the beginning of this guide is about inspiring young people. We hope that your youth groups have been actively involved in the planning and research that is outlined in sections 2, 3 and 4 and therefore that they also really want to get involved in making the events and projects happen. Although Noise events and community action projects are all about serving and blessing others, we know that through serving others our personal faith begins to make a difference in the world. Part of the point behind these initiatives is therefore to get young people passionate about living out their faith, seeing their towns and communities changed and drawing closer to God in the process. In addition to this one of the other major points we also made at the start of the guide was about ‘doing it well’. This has come through in our hopes to listen, understand and work with the community. However, it will also come through in this section too. We want young people to be deeply passionate about their communities and about seeing lives changed. But we can’t stop there. We want to enable people to take this passion and turn it into effective action. Planning projects is one way to do this, but also offering training for specific projects and tasks is also essential. You may find from your research that the elderly in a certain area feel unsafe in their homes. In response you may decide to help this group of people with their home security. A local or national security company may provide safety lights or door chains at a reduced cost (or for free) and one project may then involve fitting extra locks and lights on houses. In this instance it’s essential the team are trained in fitting the new locks or lights. It may sound simple, but it’s always worth making sure that team members know what they are doing and are happy doing it! This section will give you a few hints about how to go about recruiting, training and building a team to help Noise projects effectively serve and meet your community’s needs.

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Chapter 2: Who can be on team Anyone! It is up to you to decide any criterion you want for inclusion on the team. Again, the heart behind this is that everyone can get involved, and, in particular, with young people of all persuasions leading and initiating as much as possible. The only issue becomes one of safety and liability for people under 18 years of age. Talk to whoever is responsible for the child protection policies within your church for advice. You will require a parental/guardian consent form for anyone under the age of 18, with a specific adult named by the parent/guardian as the person responsible for the under 18 year old. We recommend those under 16 need to be with and work on the same project as their nominated responsible adult. With these guidelines in place, there’s no reason why people of any age can’t take part. For more physically intensive tasks, or in areas where there may be harmful substances, used syringes for example, you will want to exercise some age restrictions. A question you may want to answer right from the beginning is whether you want to let people that aren’t part of the church, or who don’t profess any faith to take part. We would recommend that you make the project as inclusive as possible. If young people from the local school wish to take part, if people from other voluntary organisations, or your neighbours want to get involved, why stop them? All this builds community and relationship; which is one of the project’s key values and purposes. Secondly, people have become Christians through participating.

Team leaders For each specific project you’ll want to identify a specific team leader to oversee it. Their role will be to ensure the project goes smoothly, that any problems are dealt with and that everyone involved is happy, motivated and knows what they are doing. Team leaders should be over 18 and have a real passion and understanding about serving the community. It’s also good to ensure the team leaders you appoint are familiar or have knowledge of the sort of project they will be overseeing. If you’re hoping to do some major gardening activities, decorating, run a sports event or even an after school club you’ll need to find and appoint people with the skills and know how to achieve those ends. In Watford, the Noise runs as both an annual and monthly event. Because of this, when the major Noise weekend comes around every year, those people who are regularly involved in Noise projects on a monthly basis make perfect team leaders for the bigger annual events. These team leaders may know some of the local residents and projects already so they make ideal leaders.

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Chapter 3: Recruiting and motivating team For a large town-wide project you will need to have an extensive team covering the wide range of areas needed to pull the thing together. Not only those committed to serving the community, but people to make it happen smoothly, from administration, to operations, to welfare, first aid and catering, among others. If you are a group of churches working together you will need to define who is in overall charge, and which churches, or individuals are responsible for which areas. You will want then to establish how you want to communicate with each other, what levels of delegation each person has, and what your reporting structures will be. The main way to get people on board is to tell stories of what’s been happening. Partnering with Soul Action and the Soul Survivor family will mean you’ll have stories from SOULINTHECITY or access to our websites to read about what has been achieved in other parts of the country. Presumably if you’re carrying out the project you’re pretty sold on the vision. You just want to talk about what’s getting you excited in the hope that it’s infectious. Perhaps there are specific things you feel that God has spoken to you about that you want to see happen and think will come about, in part at least, from carrying out a project in your area.

Explain the sort of commitment that is required It is easier for people to commit once they know what they are getting themselves into, so give the full picture up front. The main commitment is the project itself. There is a degree of sacrifice, giving up a Saturday, weekend or bank holiday to serve people, but it’s refreshing in its own way. And you may need to elaborate on that. The main thing is that, selfishly somewhat, there is a ‘feel good factor’ about effectively contributing to the local community. It might be the break that a lot of your church people have been looking for! However, you may want to offer flexibility in what people can do. You will have a number of different types of teams if you are running a large project, including a catering team, which will require a different type of commitment. Perhaps others can help out in transport, in hosting a visiting team from outside of the area, or stewarding at the venue, without having to give up their whole weekend if other responsibilities prohibit them. People will want to get involved, so come up with creative ways to let as many as possible in on the action. If that means putting on a crèche, you may want to think about how to do that, even if it’s during the Bank Holiday Monday and the community party you might do, in which case you could open it up to local residents also. With specific roles, you will want to go through a job description and map out any hours of commitment needed. For the management team and other positions you may need to figure out what a longer term commitment will look like before and after the event, and explain the voluntary nature of it. You will also want to go through reporting procedures, and explain the results you want, and the resources available for them to carry out their

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roles. You may want to put that on paper for people so they have clear guidelines. The main thing is to make sure that you and the person you are delegating to are happy with what is required and that sufficient means and support are available for accomplishing that. For more information see the appendices with job descriptions and specimen delegate and team leader invitation/information letters.

Firm up commitment It may not be necessary, but if you want to get a firmer idea of the numbers of people you have available you can supply people with sign up forms. If you are doing a more extensive project with a large team, you are advised to have people sign up anyway, including a liability waiver and necessary child protection policy declarations (see appendices). As well as ensuring you are covered for liability, these can help your team members ‘belong’ and feel appreciated, as well as give them an awareness of the professionalism and scale of the project. If however, you are conducting a smaller scale project this process may have the adverse effect of killing off the sense of fun and spontaneity in organising an initiative. Ultimately this isn’t about red tape and ‘qualifying’ to take part, but getting out there as simply and as easily as possible.

Get people enthused Once you have an initial commitment from people, or at least some sort of curiosity, you will want to build on that enthusiasm. You’ll be part of global initiative with Soul Action, so you can check out our website and read about what’s going on all over the UK with Noise projects or Soul Action Partners. That’s pretty exciting! By giving people the biblical basis for what the team are doing, you will provide motivation to stick at it. We have included a theology section in this guide so that you can think these things through more deeply yourself. For many, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so getting out there on a trial run can really get people excited, giving them the opportunity to tell their friends and family what they are up to. Perhaps you could run a small-scale action evangelism project and encourage your small fellowship group or housegroups in the churches working with you to do something of their own devising. It’s important to make sure right from the outset that these experiences are positive, so perhaps avoid scrubbing walls in cold dark alleyways till 2 in the morning. That would probably be a bit of a dampener.

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Chapter 4: Team Structure This guide has the larger project in mind, one involving at least 100 volunteers. An extensive project will require a management team structure with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. We’ve provided a model here for you to adapt, detailing the structure in this diagram below with job descriptions for each available as appendices.

Project Leader Administrator

Operations Manager

Catering Manager

Researcher Community Liaison

Teams Leader

Team Leaders

Marketing

Team Leaders

Venues Manager

Teams of 25

Teams of 25

Stewards Manager

Team Leaders

Team Leaders

Teams of 25

Teams of 25

Press Officer

Welfare

Doctors

Website First Aid officers

Ministry Team

Project Management Team organisational chart

Teams We recommend people going out in large teams of about 25 each, including its two to four leaders. Obviously, you will want to match team size to the task, so perhaps break the team down so that one does the small back yard, and the other the neighbour’s garden. But breaking people up into groups of 25 is crucial in a big project, not least for administration, but also for people to belong to a group and learn together.

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Chapter 5: Training In terms of devising team training for your own teams it will be best for you to decide how much is needed depending on where your group is at and how familiar they are with conducting a project. Again, it is important to underline that training is only necessary where it encourages people by filling up a gap in their knowledge, and helps them feel more confident in going out there. If it feels like just one more barrier before getting to go out you might want to keep it simple, or leave it to on-the-job training. As Project Leader it will be up to you to strike the balance between what empowers and values people, and what paralyses them.

Training may need to include: The vision behind your individual project Share your heart for the city you are working in, and stories from previous projects and events like SOULINTHECITY.

The biblical basis for what you are doing See section one.

The details of the projects that you are hoping to undertake Be specific about what is going on. Perhaps different team leaders in charge of different areas.

The value of the team members You will need in word and deed, to constantly reiterate the importance and value of what the team are doing, and your commitment to them. In doing so, explain the Welfare Officer’s role (see appendices) and encourage people to be constantly feeding back on what they are doing, and act on it accordingly.

Expectations from team members, team structure, timetables and logistics Explain your team structure and how your teams are split up, introducing team leaders and people responsible for different areas. Look at the timetable you are using, and let people know really clearly where and when they need to be at different places. Explain transportation to and from your base venue to the different projects providing maps where necessary.

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Provide contact telephone numbers. Explain catering arrangements. Explain how you will assign people to teams and teams to individual tasks. Provide identity badges for people, both for team members to be able to identify each other, and for members of the community to know you are a project worker.

Health and Safety and Emergency Procedures Go through relevant Health and Safety procedures, noting any chemicals you may be using, advise on lifting objects and the need for safe behaviour where dealing with sharp tools, or working in unsanitary conditions. Go through your emergency procedure. Fire Exits for the venues you are using, emergency contact numbers, explain how to contact First Aid officers and the project Doctor, etc.

How to conduct the practical project If windscreen wiping, you may want to practise on a couple of cars in the church car park first, so people can get out to the petrol station forecourt able to do a windscreen as quickly and as well as possible. If people are entirely new to gardening you might want to get an expert in to show you how to use different tools, how to distinguish between weeds and someone’s prize hardy perennials (think of what could go wrong otherwise!) as well as any health and safety measures needed. Inform where equipment is available and how teams collect them and take them back.

Why are you doing this? Under girding the principles of why you are doing this, going over the vision on a daily basis during the weekend and beforehand. Your teams might also want to think about what they want to tell anyone curious about why they’re doing the project. Here it will be key to underline to your team that simple service is the main motivation, regardless of results. However, we are also motivated by God’s love for the people we are serving. This is not a manipulative exercise whereby we’re being nice to people in the hope that we’ll get them converted. It is about serving them, and in doing so providing opportunity for them to hear the good news in words too (see section 1.)

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Evangelism: conversing about faith For some people you come into contact with, they will be ready to hear the full gospel message in words, and may be open to being prayed with by members of the team. You may want to do some roleplays or other training before the weekend. This will both raise expectation that this thing can happen, as well as to make sure people feel comfortable to make the most of any opportunities that may arise. In this, we’re all learning, so it would be good to feedback any stories and questions people have. You want to make sure that people are given a lot of grace to learn, make mistakes and have a laugh about some of the conversations they get into, in ensuring this is a collective learning experience. If you are getting people to stand up to share their stories with the group, make sure you are ‘celebrating’ people who are trying and not just the people who may be seeing conversion.

How to pray for people on the street There may be opportunities to pray with people that you are serving. Perhaps you’ll be having a conversation about something they’re struggling with, or a physical ailment they have, and it seems like a good chance to pray with them. You can offer, people can decline and you can say you’ll be praying for them anyway. But often, the chance to pray with someone on the street can be the first time someone comes to realise that there is a living God who is personally interested in them. Encourage your team to step out but make sure there not over zealously hassling people. The confidence that conducting the practical projects gives, and the inroad it provides into people’s lives, could be the impetus for taking some risks!

Bear in mind Before you appoint people to specific teams make sure that the team members will not only be able to do the job, but that team are appropriate for the person or project you are serving. Consider the project and the people you have at your disposal. A group of lads might not be particularly interested in helping to run a dance worskshop whereas a group of girls might not be all that up for lugging furniture around. The more ‘relational’ the project is in terms of talking, meeting and hanging out with people, the more you’ll need to ensure the team is right for the task. A group of guys might not be the most appropriate team to serve in a mum’s and toddlers group, so it’s always good to check and make those decisions about team ‘dynamics’ before you ask for volunteers!

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Chapter 6: Looking after the team You want the event to be as positive for the team as possible. The main thing is to provide plenty of opportunity for two way communication. As well as the morning meetings, make sure that there are opportunities after the afternoon projects to get together and feedback. As people may well be stepping out into things for the first time, it is really important to provide the time, safety and encouragement of meeting after the outreach, and give opportunity to pray for anyone who may need encouraging. If you are not using the evenings for anything, make sure that people still feel a part of things. Perhaps have meals in and watch a video, maybe inviting people in the project area to join you, or have everyone stay over in the base building to contribute to a sense of mission.

Role of the Welfare Officer If a Team member has any questions or problems at all the first port of call is always the team leader. They are the people who will be ‘looking out’ for everyone involved. However, for anything serious that may arise, it is worth having a Welfare Officer available who can deal with any sensitive issues. The Welfare Officer may be able to advise on issues encountered while conducting the projects. In particular, the Welfare Officer deals with any allegations of abuse, either within the team, or helping team members deal with suspected abusive situations they may encounter while conducting projects. All team leaders (and team members who will be working with young people) should sign a disclosure and child protection policy. This brings a level of safety to the projects and events that may otherwise be overlooked.

Realistic expectations When assigning people to teams and projects, you want to make sure that you are being realistic about what people are to achieve. You don’t want three people moving fifty mattresses, or responsible for four wildly overgrown gardens. Likewise, people need to be able to say if they feel uncomfortable or timid about conducting a certain task. They are not demonstrating a lack of servant-heartedness if they are worried about damaging their back and object to lifting something too heavy for them. You also want to give people space if talking to strangers is scary for them. Be realistic about where people are at and where they may be by the end of the project. You want these projects to be a good experience where people grow in reaching out, but not where they feel bullied or expected to do anything they’re not up for. Again, encourage team leaders to be looking out for their team.

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Stick to the timetable as well. If a project is a bit labour intensive, even if a lot of fun, people need to know that the cut off point is the cut off point; that at 5pm (or whenever you fix) they’ll be finished, home and dry.

Meals Decide whether team are responsible for their own food, or whether you cater wholesale. The main thing here is keeping teams together and maintaining continuity throughout the day. You want to avoid people going off doing their own thing or, worse, being left out on their own.

Accommodation Because most projects are local, people will be staying in their homes. However, for team spirit, individual churches, or youth groups may want to incorporate a sleepover as part of, or for each night of, the weekend (if you’re doing a whole weekend!) If you go ahead with this, make the option available early on, make sure there are toilet and showering facilities, food for breakfast and the necessary Health and Safety measures taken. If you are recruiting a team from further abroad than people who live locally to the project, then you should not recruit for more than you are able to adequately house with proper showering, food and transport facilities. This is to be a positive experience for each team member, and as Project Leader you are responsible for making sure everything is in place for this to be the case.

Water Make sure your team has plenty of water throughout the project. If doing something potentially quite exertive and tiring, in exposed (hopefully sunny) conditions, you will want to have bottles of water available.

Transport Provide adequate and safe transport for the team, especially if going into an area unfamiliar to anyone. It would be terrible to leave someone behind at the end of the day with a bucket and sponge in hand and no idea of how to get back to where they started out, so make sure you’ve got designated drivers, people know how to use the public transport available, and that team leaders can account for their entire team before and after a project.

First Aid Ensure your team is adequately covered by trained first aiders, especially if you are using sharp implements, heavy tools or are in exposed conditions. Having a spot of antihistamine available after a surprise wasp sting from cleaning up a garden will go down a treat with your volunteer! Arrange first aid training if necessary and consider whether to have a GP on the team, or on call from a local surgery. (See Medical Form, Liability Disclaimer.) In any case, if you are bringing in a number of young people into an area for a project, notify the nearest Health Centre.

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Emergency Provision Ensure that you have adequately thought through emergency provision and procedures. Inform local emergency services of what you are doing and your location beforehand, with a prepared plan of action in the event of emergency. 1

Have mobile phones/walkie-talkies available at all locations to call emergency services. Ideally, all team leaders should have mobile phones with their numbers listed at a central control centre.

2

Names of team with each set of team leaders should be available at the control centre.

3

Ensure small team leaders know who the first aider is, and where to locate a first aid kit.

4

Ensure small team leaders are aware of how to contact emergency services and how to identify themselves, the nature of the emergency and their location.

5

Run through different scenarios in training e.g. what you would do in the event of a volunteer having what would seem to be an epileptic fit.

6

Ensure medical forms are available if necessary.

7

Know how you will evacuate people where appropriate.

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 7: What a Noise! TIPS FOR THE WEEKEND OR PROJECT When you actually come to doing your projects or weekend of activity it’s good to have a few things ready, prepared and in check to help the events go smoothly. We’ve drawn up a quick list of things you might want to consider to help with everything from evangelism through to follow up. None of this is essential, but Noise projects and servant hearted initiatives around the country do some of the following stuff to keep their projects safe and well managed. Have a look and use/adapt the tips for your own events.

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Chapter 1: Prayer and worship Throughout your weekend or before you set off to do any kind of servant hearted project it’s good to bring everything back to God. Our actions are an overflow of our love of God and it’s good to put these projects in the context of our worship to him. Having times together where we give God glory for who he is, spending time praying together and encouraging one another will be a valuable way to focus ourselves. With these events we’re trying to make sure that we serve people, show them Jesus, inspire one another and do all of these things well. Times of prayer and worship can help us give these pressures over to God, letting him speak to us and helping us work out our motivations, tiredness and hopes. Even if you’ve got a small group it’s a great idea to gather together and spend some time praying for each other. Some people, whether they say it or not, may be a bit nervous about the prospect of serving publicly and meeting people they don’t know. It’s always good to make people feel safe and happy with what they are doing and offering prayer can be a real confidence building part of the training and preparation. In events like SOULINTHECITY delegates have commented how times of worship, praise and ministry that take place before afternoons of servant hearted action have been amazing times to be equipped. When we spend ourselves giving to others, serving and meeting their needs, our songs of worship match our actions and our faith fills with integrity. And remember to encourage each other to pray throughout the day/weekend or project too. One group in Oxford told us how they had put on a barbeque for the local kids to come to. The sun was out and everything was in place and had been prepared, but there were no kids. People on the team decided to go on a prayer-walk around the area, quietly praying as they walked around the streets. They said it acted like a giant magnet, because suddenly kids started turning up from all over the place! Encourage each other to be praying for God’s grace and mercy, for relationships to be formed, and mostly that people would see his glory through your deeds, that others too would join in worship.

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Chapter 2: Who’s doing what? By the time you get to your weekend or event, you’ll want all your team leaders to know exactly what they are doing! If you’re organising a regular initiative then your team may be made up of a fairly consistent bunch of people who are familiar with the routine and what is expected of them. Bigger initiatives that take place just once a year might bring hundreds of volunteers and so you’ll want to make sure everyone knows what they are doing and why!

Admin For safety and organisational reasons, it’s good to ensure bits of administration are well prepared. Each team member should be given an identity badge when they arrive, which will have their name and the church/Noise logo on it. It’s wise to sign these badges in and out at the end of each day. The reason for badges means that the team are easily identifiable by local residents, many of whom will be expecting teams in their houses. Signing the badges in and out means that you’ll know which team members are on a project. Ensuring that the team members sign their badges back in at the end of the day is an extra safety precaution. If the church has a reputation for gaining entry into peoples homes, these badges could be misused. Ensuring all badges and Noise identification is signed in means we’re protecting our residents and team. It’s also a good idea to give each team member a timetable of the day/weekend or project (see section 5, chapter 2) so people know what is going on and when. Having timetables also helps people to see what sort of commitment is required from them.

Team Leaders Before the events send all team leaders a letter outlining information they may need to know. Include stuff like their responsibilities, role and information on welfare and emergency/first aid procedures. An example ‘Specimen Team Leader Information Letter’ is included in the appendices, along with other forms and ideas to help you get started on thinking about the weekend.

Team If you’re organising a bigger annual event you may have a time where loads of extra volunteers turn up and get involved. You’ll want these people to be happy, knowing what they are doing and what is expected of them. Encourage people to choose specific teams/projects that they either know about or would be comfortable doing. The team leaders should then spend a bit of time explaining what the project is and what team members will be doing. Have some time of focussed prayer and make sure everyone is happy!

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Residents You’ll also want the residents you are serving to know what is going on and who to expect. You may not be able to tell them all of the names of the whole team, but it would be good to tell them the names of the team leaders, so they feel confident that they are opening their homes to the right people. Making sure you’re team members have badges and identification linked to the Church will help local residents feel safe in what you are doing.

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Chapter 3: Equipment list and Project Pro Forma Two things you may want to consider to help organise your projects are an equipment list and project pro forma!

Equipment List Before you embark on a project you might want to draw up a list of what will be needed to complete the task at hand. If it’s a garden or house makeover you’ll need all sorts of specific stuff like mowers, trowels, gloves, paint, paint brushes etc. Make sure that with each project you generate an equipment list for the Team Leader to work to. The items could be collected or ‘signed out’ from the church and ‘signed in’ at the end of each day/project. Thinking through equipment needs before hand will have save time on the day and ensure you’re ready to serve the projects immediately.

Project Pro Forma It’s always a good idea to have an efficient written record of what project was carried out, where and with whom. Draw up a pro forma detailing: •

the nature of the work agreed to be carried out, e.g., the specifics of what someone wants done in their back garden

the team assigned to do the task, perhaps identified by the team leader

tools and equipment needed to do tasks: location of power points etc

whether the job met the requirements, and if not, what wasn’t met

whether there was a handover to, in this example, the house owner, detailing what you’ve done

details of any follow up required

By having an accurate written record, you are protecting yourselves and your team, making sure they are covered in the event of a misunderstanding. It is also a useful reference in the event of future follow up, which enable the contact to show care and personal interest. Make sure your team leaders know how to use whatever system you set up and adhere to it.

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Chapter 4: Making it fun Serving others, picking up litter, painting and decorating and putting others before yourself doesn’t always sound like too much fun! However, it can be. Working together as a Team and encouraging one another can help build relationships and shared experience. The key to a successful project is that you do something that is not so ambitious that you can’t finish it without knackering your team on overtime, nor that’s so simple people wonder why they bothered going out. We also recommend that projects are kept within a specific and doable time frame. In the time you set aside include any team debrief and, ideally, transport to the site of the project and transport back. People can leap into these things with all the enthusiasm of a jogger with new shoes and a new diet plan on January 1, but you want to keep them for the longer term exercise programme, so keep them keen. If people get a taste for it they will be able to initiate their own projects in their own time and keep the pace. Make the projects fun and realistic and keep encouraging Team Leaders to get alongside team members, especially those who may feel lost in the whole event!

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Chapter 5: Photo/video forms If you’re taking any photos or making a video to show what your Noise event was all about then you will want to check with people that they don’t mind you using their photo for future publicity use. If you are planning on taking individual pictures of anyone under the age of 18 you will need to get parental/guardian permission. Whoever you’re taking a photo of, no matter how old, it is wise to always get their permission and mention what the image could be used for. If the team is doing a good job in someone’s back garden then the residents are more than likely to be pleased to have their photo taken with the team and the new shrubbery! An alternative is to take ‘group shots’ of things like community barbeques and sports events. If you are holding a large community event then put up signs around the area where you’ll be meeting and mention that photo’s will be taken. If people are unhappy to be photographed then they can then avoid the camera.

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Chapter 6: What to say In our first sections we mentioned that the heart of the Noise was about four things; serving others, showing people Jesus, inspiring each other to act and doing all these things well. The first two of these come back to the discussion of justice and evangelism, which we identified as vital aspects of a life of worship. We do the Noise, not in a secret attempt to lure people into church, but because we want to bless our communities. However, in many instances people will ask ‘Why?’ What you say is really up to you; different churches explain the gospel message in different ways. The important thing to communicate is that our acts of service and the projects we are involved in aren’t dependent upon people becoming Christians. One church encourages people to say that the projects and acts done under the banner of the Noise are ‘gifts’. In this sense team members on projects explain that gifts are given freely and there are no strings attached. You give a gift because you want to bless someone, not because you want to get anything back! In many ways, this speaks of grace and acceptance and hopefully people will understand that the Noise takes place because local Christian really do care about their community’s day to day needs. However, we do also care about people’s spiritual needs. Talking to people about Jesus and salvation and having opportunities to pray for people, and inviting residents to things like the Alpha course will be great ways of making the connections between faith and action. In any situation like this we want to be sensitive but not embarrassed about what we believe and why. It might be worthwhile encouraging people to write down different ways of summarising the gospel message, and learning it. You can always give advice, but it’s great for people to be able to speak about the gospel in their own words, communicating it in a way that is personal to them. Pray for the opportunities to arise, but if not, don’t force it. Commit to long term relationships with the people you are serving and regularly pray for them!

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 8: What HAPPENED? Evaluation should be seen as an integral part of the Noise or social action project you’ve put on. Whether it be in an official report, a presentation or dozens of discussions, the tools in this section will help you to work out what you achieved and how to continue your projects, taking your church further into community involvement.

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Chapter 1: What worked, what didn’t? Evaluation As part of our hope to do the Noise well, after you’ve undertaken any project or weekend you should attempt to evaluate what you have done and what you achieved. You may want to reflect on whether the projects fulfilled their mission statements and evaluate whether you met the needs, that you and local people, had defined before the projects or weekend took place. If you can get together with people who’ve been involved with your projects from the start, including team members of the weekend or specific projects, it’s good to think about what happened. Get specific people involved to come back together after a week or so, asking them to think about the hits, misses and maybes that took place over course of the project or weekend. When you do, ask yourself whether: •

the activities you have set are being carried out on time

you are still on track to achieve your objectives

there are any problems you need to tackle

you need any shift of emphasis

you are overstretching yourselves

you need more resources

If the projects you’ve undertaken are to continue, it is important that you constantly check and reflect on what you’re doing, referring back to your initial mission statement in the process. Your group should meet regularly to monitor and assess your progress.

Hits, misses or maybes? There will always be a range of good things, bad things and ‘not sures’ on any journey so when things do not happen as planned, see it as part of a learning curve and ask the following questions. If things worked well, ask why. Encourage people to come to the evaluation session with what they consider to be the: Hits (the things that worked well), misses (the things that didn’t work so well) and maybes (the things they have questions over). Encourage people to feed back their thoughts and ask: •

if, and why, you failed to meet a need

what problems you ignored or underestimated

in what ways the reasons for failure were inside or outside of your team’s control

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in what ways the problems could have been foreseen

how the problems might be overcome

Then think about the positive stuff: •

what worked and why?

how do you know it was a success?

was it good because of the people involved or because it met a need?

did the local residents think the project was good?

Where are you at? You may have found that some of your hopes weren’t realised. Alternatively you may have had an amazing time. If you feel a bit disappointed about some of your expectations then maybe work out where things might have gone wrong. Think about exactly what progress you’ve made against your initial activity/project idea and what you’ve achieved. Although this might be a little disheartening (as the example below might appear!) you can adapt this to see exactly what you’ve achieved and what possible outcomes of your actions might be!

It’s always good to acknowledge that your situation may have changed, or that things haven’t gone as planned. Whether you have achieved a hit, a miss or a maybe, you may find that you have to adjust some of your projects in order to meet needs in your area more successfully. Going through these activities should help you really evaluate what you’ve done and what it has achieved.

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Chapter 2: Ask again - Back to square one Once you’ve undertaken a Noise project and done a bit of evaluation, there’s still loads you can do to take the initiative further. From research through to actually putting on your project we’ve looked to involve the community asking them what they want us to do and why. Once we’ve started meeting needs and setting up projects it’s essential we keep asking the community what they think about what we’re doing and if it’s making a difference. Go back to key people you have served and spoken to and who’ve been involved and see if their opinion of the community has changed as a result. Ask them to be frank, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the projects you undertook. Don’t be afraid to hear criticisms. We want to be open to the community and its needs so that we can effectively adapt what we are doing to help make a real difference. Some criticisms may lead to ideas about amazing new projects. Being open will help you develop a relationship with the people you are serving, showing them that you’re keen to make a real difference. For some it might only be after you’ve undertaken a project that they feel confident enough to know you mean well… therefore it’s essential we don’t give up but develop and adapt what we’ve done in light of what people are saying.

Back to square one It might feel like you’re heading all the way back to square one. It’s essential that we effectively evaluate what we’ve done, especially if we plan to carry on doing the same projects. Going back to people time and again, gathering research and establishing connections between the needs, resources and hopes that are present will enable you to generate more and more projects that meet real needs. The tools and ideas we listed in earlier sections will need to be revisited and reused each time you begin a new project or idea. Making sure you ask and involve the community is an essential part of doing the Noise well and learning how to meet needs. As a result of what you’ve done you may find it helpful to work on some of the following things to document what happened and how:

1) Review We’ve spoken already about evaluation, but why not formalise it into a proper document. If you’ve worked citywide, churches may want to regroup and take stock of what’s happened over their weekend and feedback stories, highlights, thoughts, ways to improve, to comment on things that went well and anything that went badly. You can add testimonies, comments of residents, your research methods, how and why you undertook

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certain projects and where you’ll go from now on. It’s important to identify strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging mistakes so they are not made again in the future.

2) Administrative portfolio As Project Leader you want to make sure you have compiled an administrative portfolio detailing what you did, lists of contacts, suppliers, venues, budgets, quotations, etc. This will help you to develop future year’s events so you’re not constantly writing letters or going over the same ground. This will also help the church take on the Noise if the Project Manager leaves! Whatever you do it is great to come together and celebrate what has happened. Even if things turned out not entirely as expected it’s good to thank God for what you’ve achieved making sure you ask Him how you can seek to improve things in the future.

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Chapter 3: And now (a bit of follow up)... Your project or weekend of projects will only be the beginning. This works at two levels. Not only will you want your team members to be inspired to act in their community and therefore want to do more of the same, but new relationships with new people and organisations will mean you can take this deeper and further in your community. If your project(s) has been a successful way for you to reach out to the community, then we would encourage you to continue with it. It won’t always be glamorous, but be inventive as to how you get out there and the ways you do it, asking the community what they want as you go.

www.soulaction.org We’re hoping that the Soul Action website will offer you much inspiration. It provides you with details of loads of projects and initiatives like the Noise going on around the UK and information on Partner Projects from all over the world. This guide is to help you set up local projects that, as part of Soul Action will join with projects and events taking place in loads of countries. Some will be relatively small scale and rather spontaneous, whereas others may be fairly big and long term, such as an orphange in South Africa. Hopefully you’ll feel inspired knowing you’re part of an international partnership! If you go to the Noise or projects sections of our site you’ll be able to register your project and have your own web page that you can yourselves update. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing: Please send in: •

Email reports on what you are doing including brief details of project, description of area you are serving, anything unusual and particular to that area/town

Stories that have amazed you and think would encourage others, stating names, dates and outcomes

Ideas for projects

News of any trusts, grants, or businesses willing to participate from which others could benefit

People, offices, positions in local agencies that you’ve found helpful, so that other projects can contact their counterparts in other locations

Photos, either by post to Soul Action, Unit 2 Paramount Industrial Estate, Sandown Road, Watford, WD24 7XF, or by email, attaching a gif or a jpeg to info@soulaction.org

Press cuttings, either posted to the address above, or scanned in and sent to info@soulaction.org

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Links with the community You will want to follow up relationships and leads with other agencies, businesses and organisations that you have worked with. All good connections you have made can be worked on and endorsed through further more adventurous projects.

Re-active follow up Some follow up you won’t be able to plan for before the event. That’s exciting and could take you and your youth groups and churches to new places. You might find that a specific project or relationship with a particular resident really develops and relationships are built. Many Noise projects have grown as residents have recommended the services the churches offer to their friends and neighbours.

Proactive follow up You might like to arrange some follow up events. Alpha courses throughout the churches might be a good way to allow people you’ve met to find out more about church life and the Christian faith. If you have already arranged for a course to take place after, or coinciding with your project or weekend of projects, you will be able to invite people along to it if they are interested. Alternatively, you may want to plan another project as an active follow up. At the end of the day, there’s a degree of integrity in getting out and about regularly. The last thing we’d want anyone to think is that we just did this once a year to appease our conscience, but for the rest of the year didn’t care about the local community! It’s essential to go back to the community and ask them what they think of the projects and events so you can adequately plan and prepare for new initiatives and projects with them. In researching your project, you will have probably identified an ongoing need that a church may realistically be able to help in. If you haven’t already been thinking along these lines, perhaps there’s a way for the church to be involved in regular community action. Perhaps there’s a residential retirement home or a community centre that would benefit from visits, or sharing some of your youth resources.

Follow up commitments If anyone expresses an interest in or commits to following Christ, we recommend getting in contact within 24 hours. Make sure people are able to get involved in a local church. Perhaps they could join in with the rest of the project, making friends quickly by serving together. At the Vineyard Church in Cincinnati, some of the most active people involved in action evangelism projects are those who came along to church and became Christians after first contact on the street.

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Chapter 4: Taking it further In doing community action projects like the Noise our dream is to see God glorified in our lives and towns. This isn’t just a one off wish, but an enduring and persistent dream that, in part, depends on our ability to get out into the community.

Just the beginning There are loads of projects that started off as fairly small scale events or projects and now are regular concerted efforts at meeting the needs of a community on a regular basis. But it doesn’t always have to be serious! As you probably found in your research meeting needs isn’t just about material poverty. It’s as much about building confidence, friendship, trust and loads of other stuff too. As a result of a church’s involvement in the community through events such as the Noise, a local youth club has been host to weekly dance workshops for teenage girls. It may not seem like much, and the team heading it up love the project too, but these girls, many from broken homes, are offered a free service that they love. However, it’s not just about dancing. The team get to spend time with the girls, encouraging them, building relationship and getting involved in their lives. Sports projects, youth cafés, regular dj workshops or other events may well see you utilising the skills within your church to encourage and inspire people in your community. We’d love to see you go for it, making positive ‘noises’ in your community. As we mentioned earlier, think about using your events as a catalyst to regular community involvement and seek God’s Kingdom by serving and blessing the lives others.

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MAKE SOME NOISE! SECTION 9: What OTHERS HAVE DONE? Here we’ve interviewed a few people responsible for the Noise events that occur regularly in their communities. These case studies are included to show you what is possible and what others are doing. You’ll need to adapt your projects to the needs and ideas in your area, but hopefully these interviews and the following forms (see the appendices) will give you loads of ideas and practical ways in getting started.

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Chapter 1: Noise in Gloucester City Gates: Gloucester Interview with Joe Knight (Youth project Worker, Gloucester)

How did the Noise get started in your church? The Noise started with a few young people getting really passionate about serving their community and seeing people meet Jesus. Some of them had been involved with ‘Message 2000’ and also with Noise events in our region, but were longing for it to happen in Gloucester itself. I was working at the council at the time, and quite involved with an inter-church movement called RE:FRESH. The movement brought young people from eight churches together to worship, fellowship and seek God together. My traineeship gave me opportunity to be involved with community activities, and as the vision for The Noise grew in RE:FRESH, I presented it to my colleagues and they loved it. Miraculously, I was then given the task to work full time for five months to organise the first Noise project in the centre of town, working with churches and community groups with full support of the city council! We took on projects like litter picking, clearing and painting railings and benches around the town over a weekend in May, backing up the action with Celebration events on the Friday and Saturday nights.

What is the heart behind what you are doing? As we’ve continued to expand the Noise here in Gloucester, our heart behind The Noise has been challenged and stretched the more we understand about God’s principles and purpose for His church and His world. We keep asking the question ‘actions speak louder – but what do they say?’! 1 John 3 v19 says: “We love because he first loved us.” Social action is very popular these days, but there’s a difference between doing a good thing and being a good thing. I was inspired by something I saw in the Reading Boiler Room, it said “pray for an area of the city, then go and be what happens!’ We’re called to serve out of a heart of love – but this love first comes from God himself. The first Noise event we did was seen by many to be a great event. For the environmentalists it was great to see a fresh lick of paint here and there, for the councillors it was great PR to get a quote in the press, for others it was just exciting and different to see young people volunteering to help others. Many people saw our actions, but only a few listened to the real message of God’s love, which was our motivation to serve others.

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We hadn’t done a great job in letting our message be heard. In some respects, our loud action without clear faith was, in the words of James ‘dead’. We want to be loud and clear about what our actions are saying. Our heart is to express God’s Kingdom with our actions by touching lives, homes and neighbourhoods. We seek to live a life of mission and use projects like the Noise to empower Christian young people to live out their faith and love for God whilst seeking to unite the church to live as the body of Christ - ‘that they may be one’ - not different institutions just doing good things together! Most importantly, we want people to meet Jesus! We fervently want people to know Him, to know His hope and His love. Jesus gives life and life in all its fullness and we want to show this in the way we live our lives. We’re also passionate that the Noise is not a ‘hit and run’ event each year, but we’re looking for ways in which we can regularly make a difference in our local areas, to build enduring relationships with organisations, groups and individuals for ongoing and lasting change.

How do you work out what to do? We’ve made different ‘zones’ in the city, based upon ward areas and where different RE:FRESH churches are based. Over the past two years we’ve made contact with resident associations, neighbourhood partnerships and community groups as a way to find out what the community wants and needs in their area. We try our best to find projects that matter most to the people who live there, whilst only tackling projects that a small team of young people can achieve. We were once asked to repave bits of the city centre streets with mosaic tiles! How have links with the local community and other agencies (councils) developed and have you actively sought these? What obstacles/benefits arise from these relationships? We have some strong links with community groups and the city council. These groups can be split into three categories:

Community Groups We run on a principle that the individual projects we do should come from the local residents themselves. We write, phone and attend community group meetings, community partnerships and residents groups around the different local areas to find out projects that would make the biggest difference, and to find projects that mean a lot to local people. Often there are projects of overgrown public space, where the council has not been able to go and clean for years and the community feel very passionate about it. So, we do our best to tackle those problems and our relationship with the community grows.

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As well as this, we aim to connect with individuals who live in the areas. Over the weekend we aim to get good relationships with people, invite them to events and see how friendships can be made for them not only to get to know Christians but eventually to get to know Jesus.

City Council Whilst organising the first major Noise project in Gloucester, I was working for the council and it opened a lot of doors for support. Working for the community strategy team, we had good relationships with other council departments, which consequently opened the door for a lot of support. We are not funded by the council; however they do support us in a variety of ways, such as: Permissions to carry out the work Disposal of all waste, including sharp objects etc City Rangers and other officers help find projects and help links with community groups For the first Noise, the event came under the council’s insurance Provision of equipment and advice on how to carry out projects

Sponsors We also have some good links with businesses. The Local Strategic Partnership here backs the Noise in a variety of different ways too. They have helped with providing a lot of publicity and funding each year. One particular business provides T-Shirts, snack food and refreshments, and also has given around £2500 to our events! The Noise has also benefited the partnership in providing an example of how to work with young people and what can be done through ‘networking’. Since the Noise has started, the council and the LSP now have an annual cleanup day on which most council employees volunteer to clean up Gloucester! This is great – however we do find ourselves on a journey that becomes more challenging each year. We’re thankful for the favour and influence we’ve been able to have in the city. God has been challenging us more this year that we have to be sure on the message and the reasons behind the Noise. This has presented problems with some previous sponsors, as one chose not to fund us this year because of our ‘Christian’ focus. Praise God though, we really feel He has blessed us through this. For instance, we have been given up to £2000 from some churches in the nearby city of Hereford (who also run the Noise) for us to be able to do our project this year. It’s really incredible!

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You also work with a number of other churches. How do you manage the diversity of interests to make the whole event coherent? We keep our theology simple. 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' (Mat Ch 22v37ff) RE:FRESH, a group of up to 15 churches citywide was set up originally with four or five. We always saw it as a movement, rather than an agency and are motivated by Jesus’ prayer in John 17 when he says ‘that they may be one’. This basic theology of being united in loving God together has enabled young people from so many denominations to come together and worship God and to do projects like the Noise together. In terms of the Noise – we have over 120 young people from all these churches working and serving their communities across the city. We group three to four young people from each church and add them with youths from different churches to make teams. This enables them to make friends whilst having some sort of familiarity in the team. This year we have appointed six RE:FRESH churches as hosts in different areas and have linked other church youth with them for the weekend’s projects. As well as churches in RE:FRESH, we have worked hard to get all other churches, whatever denomination, to do a project on the Noise weekend. This year we have up to 30 churches across the city working together and supporting the Noise.

How do you make the Noise sustainable? Through ‘Going Local’ with our approach, it allows churches to rise up and be seen in their local community. The great commission says ‘GO’, yet we often say ‘come’, but partnering with the community to find its needs has challenged the church to have an outward focus. We’ve run the Noise on an annual basis until now. However we’re looking to make it more sustainable, and to have a long-term approach by having day events locally throughout the year. These day events would keep the momentum of our relationships with the community and would create an ongoing presence of young people serving others with the love of God. These day events would work towards a larger citywide Noise weekend.

How does a project idea/request become a reality? Once we’ve got a list of various projects from the community, we have a look and see what would be relevant for a group of teenagers. Once selected we go back to the community with a list of the projects and arrange to view the site to get more info.

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Once this has been done, we write up equipment needs, project descriptions and carry out the all the admin stuff like risk assessments etc. When we’ve had youth who have registered, we put them into teams and assign them to the project.

When do you start planning and what does the planning process look like? We start planning about six months in advance! The main stages of planning are: Zones - Appoint Host Churches to local areas Community Groups - Make contact with relevant groups and organisations Promotion 1 – send Registration and Consent forms to young people Projects 1 – initial ideas found Funding – sponsorship found and secured Training – team leader and connect team training Projects 2 – Finalised with community groups, council and Host churches Promotion 2 – Promotion to all local churches, sponsors etc Team – teams created Equipment – all needs for the projects met The Weekend!

You split the town/city into zones. What exactly does this mean and how does it shape what you end up doing? To split the town into zones by generally looking at communities and neighbourhoods in the city where churches involved with RE:FRESH are based. We also look at Electoral Ward boundaries and get to know the make up and framework of the communities within them. Once we’ve found some basic facts, we assign host churches to the areas who look after things like projects, relationship with community groups and getting other local churches on board. Therefore we end up with not only a good weekend, but local churches making a difference in their areas by working and partnering with the local people. This is a model we hope will grow and benefit from other projects and work from both the church and the community.

What sort of projects have really worked and made an impact in the past? We seem to get a lot of good feedback from projects that have a very visual element to them. For example, one time we took away years of fallen leaves and overgrowth from a 100m long stretch of a city centre road. We cleared back not only to find a set of double yellow lines, but we eventually found two sets, where the council had just put down new ones because they wouldn’t clear the overgrowth. Many people who lived on the road loved

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this, as they had petitioned and rallied against the council to do something for a very long time, with no results until we came.

What does the organisational/core team look like? We have a steering group of four youth leaders involved with RE:FRESH representing different churches. This creates the core team who organise the Noise. The wider leadership group of youth leaders and young people themselves also take part in organising various aspects, depending on which zone they are in. The zone teams will have a youth leader as project manager, working down to team leaders for the individual projects themselves.

How do you motivate people to volunteer to be involved? Having done the Noise for a few years, we’ve found that it’s usually the young people themselves who ask ‘when are we doing it next?’, so it’s relatively easy these days to get young people to volunteer. As well as this, the success of the previous Noise events speaks volumes to those who have not taken part before and is a motivation in itself. Church leaders can be hard work! We have opportunity to attend a monthly Pastors and Workers prayer breakfast where we have a chance to talk about events like the Noise. It can be really hard to get past just enthusiasm to really getting people onboard.

You’ve organised a bunch of evening events that are quite different to the typical servant hearted project. What do these look like and what is the idea behind them? Whilst we’re out on the streets, we interact with a lot of local people who are interested in what we’re doing. To help us follow up, we invite those people along to our evening events. This year we have three evening events in the north, central and south areas of the city. They each look slightly different, but have an aim to bring the wider community together. Through this it makes the church accessible to the local community. Friendships are built and they have a chance to hear the gospel. Also this year we’d planned to video link our evening events together, so that each area of the city could see others doing similar events. Unfortunately with a week to go this has fallen through! But that’s what it’s all about; if an idea is not going to work, then we don’t want to burn ourselves out trying to make it happen, then miss the bigger picture of what we’re doing. However – watch out next year!

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What sort of licences, insurances and risk assessments have to be undertaken for both the projects and evening events? We carry out risk assessments on all the projects we do. As well as this, each project has a description and guidelines for Health & Safety requirements and covers most of the legal stuff. This is relayed by the team leader to the rest of the team on the day. We haven’t yet had to take out special licences, however all our project leaders have to be CRB checked.

How do you work out budgets and do you apply for funding from anywhere? With a good supply of paracetamol! I always find this a headache. Thankfully, we’ve always come under budget, which is a good sign. With meetings and presentations to potential sponsors, our budgets have to be pretty detailed and well thought out. This is often done at a late stage also, because the needs of the projects can only be found once we have agreed the tasks we’ll tackle. We look at things like tools and equipment, volunteer costs, admin and publicity costs etc. Some regular sponsors also provide T-Shirts every year free of charge, which is a massive blessing! It really gives the project some identity and integrity when people see teams of youth all looking the same. It also means that all churches are seen to be working together with no one particular congregation taking the credit.

How do you publicise the event so the community knows what is happening? It works differently in different neighbourhoods. We send a press release to the local paper and often do local radio interviews. With the individual communities themselves we advertise to the various youth groups and community groups we have contact with. Some neighbourhoods have put adverts in their community magazines or community pages in the local paper, focussing specifically on what’s happening in their local area. On the actual weekend, we have young people doing surveys on the street. They seek to interact with residents and other young people, and they’ll hand out leaflets and flyers inviting the community to come along to an evening event which is close to where they live.

How do you promote the events within the church to make sure you have enough volunteers? The majority of our volunteers come from churches involved with RE:FRESH. This year we’ve sent letters, posters and emails to other churches and church leaders in the city, inviting them to be involved. It has been quite successful, but we have probably had better feedback from these other churches regarding the 24/7 style prayer room, which is open over the whole weekend in the Cathedral.

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Do you seek active engagement with the press? Yes. We write press releases and send them to local papers and local radio. It’s funny how the end result comes out sometimes; the press often turns it out round to be a ‘very nice’ event with ‘very nice’ young people. This has been another motivator in being as clear and simple as we can be with our message.

How do you select team leaders and team members? Team Leaders are usually selected if they are a CRB checked youth leader of one of the youth groups / churches. We get all delegates to register and get their parents to sign consent forms for them to be involved. We then group them with two other friends, and then mix these friends into teams of about 10 people to tackle the various projects. By doing this the different youth can still have a sense of familiarity whilst having the chance to work with and make friends with other young people from different churches and backgrounds.

What does the team structure look like? We have one or two youth leaders as the main team leaders. Then, depending on the project size we may get some youth over age 18 to be a team leader too.

How do you make sure your team know what they are doing? We write a project description, listing information about the area, who we’ve worked with to find the project, along with guidelines for what to do and what not to do. We also add Health and Safety guidelines specifically for that project, along with contact numbers etc. The team leaders go through this pack before they travel to the project, so by the time they get there everyone should know what’s happening.

You have specific ‘Connect Teams’. What exactly is their role? Connect Teams are simply small groups of people who’s aim is to ‘connect’ with local people on the street. They consist of two or three youth who we think it’s important to encourage and invest in their potential as future leaders. We train them in basic street evangelism techniques, how to carry out surveys and how to relate to other people. Whilst others are doing the litter picking and painting, the Connect Teams are out talking to people, sharing the gospel and inviting local people to our evening events, or anything else that’s relevant to the person they’re talking too.

How do you ensure your team is safe? All team leaders have mobile numbers of most other leaders. They also have contact phone numbers of their host church, as well as the organisers of the whole event. We make sure that each team knows what and where their project is, and go through guidelines on keeping safe, not only with the tools they use but also with the people they meet.

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We also pray!

How do you ensure the people you are serving are safe? All delegates wear the same coloured t-shirts. That way team members are easily recognisable to the public. On the projects we do our best to be as visible as we can be, e.g. using ‘wet paint’ signs and hazard tape where appropriate. There are of course aspects where we can’t be in control of the public’s safety, however we make sure to hand out leaflets and keep those involved fully aware of what we’re doing.

What does the actual weekend look like? We launch ‘The Noise’ on the Friday night of the weekend. I’m now writing this after our Noise event last weekend and it has been really successful! We started Friday night with all the young people together. We worshipped God and had a guest speaker to preach about God’s kingdom and the potential impact we would make over the weekend with the right perspective. The Saturday began at 10.30, with more worship and praise. We put the young people into their teams where we played games, got to know one another and found out about the projects. We carried out projects throughout the afternoon then the youth travelled to one of three evening events, held in different places across the city. Praise the Lord: seven people became Christians! The evening events consisted of sports, computer games, a community BBQ, sumo suit wrestling and other youth club type games backed up with stories of the day and an explanation of the gospel. On the Sunday we finished off the work we started on the Saturday. Teams went back to their projects for a couple of hours, and then headed back to the centre of town so that everyone could be together again. We heard testimonies about the weekend and had further opportunity to pray and worship together to bring the weekend to a close.

What role does prayer and congregational worship play in the weekend? This year we’ve opened a 24/7 style prayer room in Gloucester Cathedral from midday Friday all the way through to midday Monday. We see prayer and worship as vital in helping sustain and keep a focus to what we’re doing. The prayer room also gives opportunity for a lot of adults to play a part in the weekend.

How do you incorporate the church services? We let the young people go to their own church on the Sunday morning, then go back to their projects in the afternoon. This has proved really helpful as the young people often have a chance to tell the rest of their church what’s been happening over the weekend.

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What do the team members say to community members who ask why they are doing the Noise? Team members usually talk about the project they’re doing and where they are from. We encourage them to keep a simple message of God’s love and God’s world paramount. We had some really zealous young people at the weekend have some great conversations with members of the public, even having a chance to pray with people on the street!

What has happened as a result of the Noise weekend? Three main things: •

The unity of the body of Christ has been strengthened amongst Christians in the city

People have come to know him personally

Christian youth in the city have been empowered and their faith strengthened to have confidence in making a difference where they are at

How do you ensure this isn’t just a one off weekend of ‘community action’? We’re working towards having day events of The Noise throughout the year, whereby local churches can get involved with the community and practically help those around them. We’re hoping that these day events will lead up to a Noise weekend, which incorporates neighbourhoods in the whole city. Going further than this, rather than just working with community groups and resident associations, we’re looking at the possibility of sending representatives to actually be a part of these groups. This way our relationship with the community is always being built upon.

What’s your dream for taking the Noise further? Through having a programme of day events throughout the year, I’d love for next year’s event to be a whole week of projects including every area of the city. As well as this, we’re looking at the possibility of including adults as well as young people, to not only breach gaps in the church across culture and denomination, but also through generations too.

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Chapter 2: Making a Noise in Watford Soul Survivor Church: Watford Interview with Gemma Foster (Soul Survivor Watford Assistant Pastor)

How did the Noise get started in your church? It came as a response after Message 2000 to do things in our local area like at this festival.

How do you work out what to do? We work with the local council, residents association, family centre, social services, youth service and police to establish what needs they see in the local area - we also (which is very important) get asked to do things by the local residents. Each year we leaflet drop the whole estate offering our help, with a list of the things which we are planning to do on the weekend (i.e. painting, gardening, DIY, rubbish removal) but we also have a 'others' section where people can suggest any other things which they might need doing which we may be able to help with. By doing this we are able to be more effective in meeting the needs of the local area. This does mean though that sometimes we need to say no because we do not have the skills to do the work or it would be too unsafe to send in our volunteers (i.e. using high ladders, unsafe electrics etc). People don’t seem to mind if we say no - at the end of the day it is more that we are willing to do what we can and people are grateful for that, rather than looking at the things we are unable to do (the residents understand our limits) At the annual Noise weekend we offer those who we have helped if they would like to have any further help during our monthly Noise - this means that we have a continual flow of work and also that we can build up relationships with those who we visit regularly. This is really important as it shows we are not about doing a project but we are here for long term investment and because we genuinely care about people. It is also great for the volunteers as they get to see huge transformation over a longer period of time and begin to share in the lives of our local residents. If we get a large job then often we will do this over a number of months tacking one part of the project at a time - so people can see the progress and also we can build up relationships which those who’s homes we are visiting. In addition to this we are also involved with other initiatives from time to time i.e. free Christmas wrapping in our local shopping centre. We also assist in projects that are given to us from other local charities, for example we also do projects with a local homeless charity.

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How have links with the local community and other agencies (councils) developed and have you actively sought these? We have links with our local council. We work closely with the Neighbourhood Officer, Community Centre and also our local Mayor. We also work with our local police - mainly the community team in the local area. We’re also involved with the Residents Association and with social services and local family centres. The way we have developed this is by getting ourselves out there and known, offering to serve them for free in whatever way we can. We have attended meetings which the council or other organisations run to meet people (i.e. town planning meetings/consultations, open days for different organisations). We have also invited other agencies to hear about projects which we are running. When we have done work for these agencies we have tried to be as professional as possible and to do a good job. We are honest about time scales if we are not able to do the project for a few months (as we have a waiting list for people who would like us to visit them). As time goes on it is not so much about us actively seeking relationships as people asking us what we can do. As our reputation grows then more agencies want to get involved and see how we can partner with them. This has also been great when it comes to getting funding.

How do you make the Noise sustainable? Making the Noise sustainable is really important - as over time you see the most change. We have been really encouraged when we have seen projects for the second, third and fourth times and can see the changes and the effects which this has had on a family, and in some cases, the community as a whole. To make the Noise sustainable we run a monthly Noise in addition to the large annual Noise weekend - also cell groups do the Noise from time to time, and the young people do the Noise as part of their discipleship. At the end of the Annual Noise Weekend we write to people who we have visited and ask if they would like us to go back again and do any other things which would help so we can continue to build on relationships which we have started. Over time we are seeing a trend that a lot of people we have started to help have gained our trust and we are now doing on-going work with them. The Annual Noise weekend has also been springboard for other long-term projects. We have started a football scheme and a dance group that run each week to continue our relationships with young people in our local area. The annual Noise weekend is a great place to test something to see if it would work on a regular basis. Another important thing for keeping the Noise sustainable is keeping your church volunteers motivated and informed. Each month we advertise the Noise to church members in the newssheet and by email. We do the monthly Noise once a month on a Saturday morning and begin with breakfast and a chance for the volunteers to get to know each other. After that we go through the projects and for those projects where we are doing a repeat visit, we try to establish who has been to that house before and try to send them back again.

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How does a project idea/request become a reality? There are two ways a project starts either by a request, or an idea that we have had.

Project Request - A) Individual houses/families The request will either come from another agency or from the resident themselves, either on a flyer, returned form or from them calling up the church due to a recommendation from someone else. When we get the request we speak to the house owner (or agency) to establish what they would like doing. It is really important to know your limits on this - there are many things, which we say no to because they are above our capacity, or we simply can’t do because of insurance. For most requests we go and visit before hand to get an idea of the scale of the work, what equipment we need and if there is anywhere to put a skip if it is needed (NB if you do need a skip to go on the road then the skip company will need permission from your local council and this will need to be ordered in advance to ensure you have the right permission). We then arrange a time which is mutually convenient to go back to do the work. If the project will take more than one visit then its best to the let this be known at the beginning so they will be prepared that it will not be the finished product in one day! We always ask that the house owner is there when we visit so they can ask questions and see the work that we are doing. In some cases they want to join in and work with the team. On each work sheet we put a list of the equipment that is needed and also details of the work that is to be carried out so when the team go in they are prepared. For each project we choose a team leader who will divide up the team to do different tasks. We have found that it is a good thing to give the team some identification - this is usually a badge with the Noise logo which says 'Community Project Worker' on the front. This is so the residents know that everyone who comes into their house is from the church. We make sure that these are collected in at the end so they do not go astray. When we arrive at the house we introduce ourselves and check with the resident about the work which they want doing. We go through the information that is on the sheet - then we get to work! Also we try to encourage each team to have a 'chatter' who can spend time talking to the residents and getting to know them. At the end of each project the team leader will report back whether there is any more work to do on that job or if it has all been completed.

Project Request - B) Community Projects From time to time we get requests from the council to do projects which are on a larger scale in the community e.g. community clean up, painting of publics areas etc. When these requests come in again we go and look at the project and decide whether it is possible for us to do a good job of the work. Usually we get a few people to head up a team to carry out the work - this will usually be people who have some experience or knowledge about the

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type of thing we are doing. We will undertake a large-scale community project during our annual Noise weekend when we have more volunteers and it might take a few days to complete. All liaison for this type of work is with the local council or organisation rather than local residents. One thing we are aware of when taking on projects of this nature is whether it is something the local residents would like for their area. Primarily we feel our role is to serve them through our work with other agencies so we think it is important that they are on board with what is happening in their local area.

Project Ideas When we have an idea for a project then we usually chat it through with members of the church who do the Noise to see if it is possible to do. If it is then we speak to the local residents association and council and/or community centre (if appropriate). Then we go into the planning process like we would with any other project.

When do you start planning and what does the planning process look like? The planning process goes on all year. Each month we are always planning for the monthly Noise and having people call up and ask for us to help them. At the end of the Noise Weekend we reflect on the things which worked and the things which did not and take stock of the jobs which we have not finished (usually people come up to the team during the weekend after seeing their neighbours garden/DIY done and ask if we can do theirs as well - we add these people to our list but we do not always get around them all). A few months before we contact the local council, local police, community centre & residents association and ask if there is anything which they would like us to do for them during the Noise Weekend and we try to do any requests which they have. We also leaflet drop the area 3 weeks to a month before offering free gardening, rubbish removal, DIY and give a place where they can ask for anything which they would like doing. We also write to all the other churches in our town and invite them to be involved with our weekend if they would like to. We start to get team leaders from 3 months before hand - although this is often still happening right until the last minute! We inform the church from 2-3 months before hand and encourage people to start signing up from then.

What sort of projects have really worked and made an impact in the past? Each year one of the most successful parts of the weekend is the free barbeque and Fun Day that we run outside the local community centre. We invite everyone to come who we have visited during the weekend and we also advertise it around the estate. Each year we have slightly changed parts of the fun day by adding new things and stopping doing others - these have included: •

Face painting

•

Crafts - Jewellery making, biscuit decorating etc

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Tombola

Live band

Quiz

Puppet Show

Bouncy castle

Prayer/Chat tent

Football Tournament

Hair braiding

Live entertainment

Another project which really impacted the community was when the council asked if we would paint a local subway. We decided on an underwater theme and asked children in the local school if they would be part of the design by drawing underwater life and we chose some of the pictures and added them to the mural with their name and age underneath. The mural was covered with anti-graffiti paint so that they designs were protected. This was a great project that has benefited the local community and is a great way to be visible in the area.

What does the organisational/core team look like? This is how the teams are worked out during the annual Noise Weekend. Noise Coordinator Gardening and Rubbish Coordinator (this person will be in charge of delegating the right jobs to the right teams and making sure all the equipment is in the correct place also they coordinate the rubbish team to pick up gardening rubbish as well as their other collections) Gardening Team 1 Gardening Team 2 etc (this will go as high as is needed dependant on how many we get) Rubbish Van 1 Rubbish Van 2 DIY1 DIY 2 Prayer Team (this team is usually in a house or central point on the estate) Youth Team (we usually run a youth café/workshops and this will be coordinated by those in the church who work with young people on a regular basis) Information (this team does not accept volunteers on the day but will be hand selected beforehand) Football (this team will run football tournaments throughout the weekend) Then for the fun day activities we also have a team for each thing that is being run (i.e. tombola, children’s crafts, face painting, etc. We also had a stage manager and barbeque team leader to ensure all the logistics worked with those.

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How do you motivate people to volunteer to be involved? We advertise the Noise Weekend in the church news sheet and we also prepare a power point presentation to show in church to explain what the Noise is about and the type of things which we do. We also send a letter to cell leaders with sign up forms and ask them to give them out to their cell members and encourage them to be a part of this. The best way (although most time consuming) is to ask people personally if they are going to be involved in the weekend). When there are opportunities at both the monthly Noise and the annual Noise we ask people to share testimonies of things which have happened over the weekend and how they have seen God move in different situations. Last year we decided to have a shorter Sunday morning service and to have a lunch after church for those who were volunteering for the Noise. We also showed a DVD in church after the Noise weekend with clips of what we had been doing - this inspires people and motivates them to get involved with the Noise on a regular basis.

How do you work out budgets and do you apply for funding from anywhere? This is an area that we still need to develop. In general we have been applying to local companies to give small things i.e. gardening tools, food for the community barbeque, prizes for the tombola etc. We applied for funding from our local council for an environmental grant and were successful. However, this is an area that we are hoping to explore more.

How do you select team leaders and team members? There are a few things that we have found important when selecting team leaders. Firstly, that they are able to lead a team and organise people. Secondly, that they have a heart for what we are doing and they understand the thinking behind it. Thirdly, that they have some skill in the area which they are leading and finally that they will be committed and reliable. The majority of our team leaders are involved with the monthly Noise, so they understand what the Noise is about, have seen how it is run on a regular basis and they have picked up various skills over time. We also look for people in our church who may have a special skill to run a certain activity and people who are already working in certain areas or have a gifting in a certain area. For example there is a guy in church who has a real burden for prayer, he came and prayed for alpha each week and was committed to our 24-7 prayer week in church and so he was the ideal person to lead the prayer team for the Noise Weekend. As soon as he was asked he started sharing his vision for how this could work out and became really excited about praying for the Noise and managed to gather others around him because of this enthusiasm.

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Also the Noise is a great area to give opportunity to new leaders or people with leadership potential. This year we tried something else new with having members of the youth group leading teams (mixed of adults and young people). Throughout the year I am continually looking for potential team leaders for the Noise weekend - as I watch people demonstrate certain skills in other parts of our church life. All team leaders are personally asked to be leaders and cannot sign up for this! When it comes to selecting team - people fill in a registration form to be part of the Noise and then when they arrive on the day they can choose which team they would like to be in.

How do you make sure your team know what they are doing? We begin with the team leaders. When the Noise Coordinator asks someone to be a team leader they will explain to them what that would involve. Then they are sent a job description with all the relevant information that would be helpful to them. The team leaders are then invited to team leader training where the whole structure of the Noise Weekend will be given, so they not only understand their role but also how they fit into the bigger picture of the whole weekend. Again we go over relevant information at the team leaders meeting on the mornings of the weekend. We also give each team leader a pack with useful information in. Each pack varies according to the job that they are undertaking - but the standard for all packs are: •

Map of the local estate

Job description

Pen

Radio Call sign list

Mobile Telephone list

List/details of the job they are to attend

Invitation to the alpha course (if the opportunity arises)

Invitation to the free barbeque and fun day at the end of the Noise weekend to give out to each person they visit

We also have an Information Team who are based at the church who will be on hand to answer radios, make phone calls and trouble shoot during the weekend. They are the first port of call to the team leaders and other volunteers. During the Noise Weekend the Noise Coordinator does not assign themselves to a team so that they can also be on hand for any problems and will spend time with different projects to check how everyone is doing and be a support to them.

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When all the volunteers come and have signed in we get the team leaders to say generally what their team will be doing that day and then the volunteers get into teams. When in teams then the team leader will give specific information on what the jobs which they are going to undertake will involve.

Do you train any team members? We tried running training for everyone who is part of the Noise, but found that this was badly attended. Now each year we train the team leaders on an evening prior to the Noise weekend and we also have a team leaders meeting in the morning during the Noise Weekend to brief everyone on what to expect for that day, giving them any additional information that is needed. When on location the team leaders will teach members the skills which are needed for the job (i.e. demonstration of how to use the petrol strimmer). Most of our team leaders are involved with the monthly Noise so they pick up skills throughout the year.

Legally, what sort of procedures or checks do you place on team members/leaders? For all our team leaders who will be working with young people we ask them to fill in our church ‘Safe From Harm’ form. This is part of our church child protection policy. We also CRB check. For those who are under 18 who are team leaders we get them to fill in a Safe From Harm form, but we can not CRB check them. All those who are team leaders are known to the leaders of the church as well. For team members so far we have not had any procedures but their registration form. However, next year we are looking to have references for every volunteer.

How do you ensure your team is safe? Each Team Leader will have a mobile phone list with all the phone numbers of the other team leaders and the Noise Coordinator. This is to be kept confidential because of data protection. For team leaders who have teams that are doing more dangerous tasks we give them radios so they can keep in regular contact with the first aiders, coordinator and office. The office team deal with most of these requests. We work with two radio channels. One channel includes those teams who do not need to talk too much (i.e. football, first aid etc). The gardening and rubbish teams use a separate channel, as they will be continually communicating to get equipment from one place to another. We wanted to keep one channel free in case there was an emergency. We have found this system works the best and it saves on mobile phone bills! We also contact the local police to make them aware of the Noise weekend and usually the community team link up with us. This has either been in plain clothes or in uniform, they use it as a time to get more involved with the community as well.

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How do you ensure the people you are serving are safe? Each volunteer wears a badge with the Noise logo, their name, and a strap line that says 'Official Community Project Worker'. When we write to the local residents to say we are coming we say that our volunteers will be wearing a badge with this information. We also sign the badges back in at the end of each day to make sure they are not left on the estate. People sign in and out each day so that we know that everyone is back from the estate. It is the team leaders responsibility to look after their groups. For those who are volunteers who are under 18 they need to have their parent’s permission to be involved with the Noise.

What does the actual weekend look like? We do the traditional social action work on the Saturday and Sunday (i.e. gardening, DIY, painting, community clean up etc) and then on the Bank Holiday Monday the focus is the Fun Day and the barbeque. This year throughout the weekend we also ran a youth café that included a DJ workshop. During the whole time that we are working on the estate we have a team who are praying for the work that is going on. Last year we introduced a mobile phone into the prayer room so each team could text in their prayer requests. During the Sunday morning service we also carried on the theme of the Noise weekend. We had a testimony of someone who had become and Christian through the work of the Noise to inspire others to get involved. The service was also shorter and then the volunteers had lunch together. Then, before the evening service, we invited young people from the youth café over to church to have dinner and then asked if they wanted to stay on for the evening service.

What do the team members say to community members who ask why they are doing the Noise? Often when we go to peoples houses they would like to give a donation to us or 'our charity'. We always refuse donations! We say that we are a local church and this is our gift to you - and it would not be a gift if you had to pay for it. Or we say that we are just serving our local community and we do not want anything. We usually go with what is natural in the conversations. We also do free Christmas present wrapping in our local shopping centres with other local church and this is the time that the time that the 'gift response' works really well.

What has happened as a result of the Noise weekend? Over the years that we have been doing the Noise our relationship with the local community has gone from strength to strength. We have a stronger relationship with the local council and other local agencies because we have proved ourselves and been faithful in what we have promised to do. We’ve gained a good reputation and it

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means that they now approach us as a matter of course for project ideas in our community! Also we have developed more regular projects on the estate. We are now running a weekly football scheme. It has been going for just under a year. We started with five local young people and now we have 45 and are about to split into two nights per week. We have also been offered a professional coach by our local community football trust and we will be running life skills sessions once a month with food (which will be compulsory if they would like to play football). We are also planning to run a once a month football session for the girls on the estate to see if this takes off. We are also hoping to train some of those who come along to be football coaches as well, which could give them an option of employment in this area. This is a great way to continue relationships and input and invest in the lives of young people in our area. On top of this we run a weekly street dance group. They have performed at the annual Noise weekend and we are hoping to use them to perform in other things again. Both of these initiatives have only worked because of committed members of our congregation who have got on board with this and seen the vision for our community as well. We also visit different people on the estate that we do a bit of gardening for. This has taken a long time to develop but is growing with each year that we do the Noise.

How do you ensure this isn’t just a one off weekend of ‘community action’? Ultimately as well as serving our community, being an expression of God's love and helping to show his love to his people - we also want to see people become Christians in our area. This is why it is so important that we do things that will build relationships. We are gradually introducing more and more ways of doing things so this can happen. For example this year we had our church Alpha team serving drinks at the barbeque. They were really warm and friendly and were able to get into conversations with people about our Alpha course at church. We also had a 'come in and chat tent' where we would have the opportunity to get to know people. The idea was to have the chance to pray with people if they would like it. The main way of ensuring that it is not a one off weekend is by building on the weekend each year and by doing the Noise on the monthly basis.

What’s your dream for taking the Noise further? We are hoping that we can do the Noise in a wider context with other local churches across our town. Long term I would love us to be even more visible in the community and the church to be the first port of call for anyone (i.e. to be the centre of the community which we are in). It would be great if the church were seen as a place where people could come and get help and support. Also, for the council and other agencies, to see the church as an

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agent for change and an institution which has a voice (this has already happened to some extent but there is still more room for growth). And, of course, ultimately not just for our area to be changed and people feel better about their homes/garden, but for peoples lives to be changed through Jesus Christ and for them to come into relationship with God.

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Soul Action Go Local Section 1: Make Some Noise!