Martin’s Story

Martin grew up in North Leatherhead, living with Mum and two
younger siblings. He began attending our BFree Youth Cafe project aged 11, and
became a regular visitor 5 days a week. Soon after, Martin came to Freestyle,
our 4 day residential camp which gives young people an action packed time away
during the Easter Holidays.

Several years later, the BLAZE project started, which gave
teenage boys the chance to enjoy trips and leisure outings and boys nights.
Martin and his friends became an integral part of BLAZE, and he soon became one
of the 4 ‘BLAZE team’ members who helped to plan and coordinate the project –
aged just 14! The boys wanted to start doing something to benefit the
community, and they began helping local elderly residents with gardening,
particularly those who had overgrown gardens which needed substantial clearing.

Martin continued to be a part of many LYP projects,
including Total Football, BFree and Freestyle. In 2010, Martin helped launch
North Leatherhead United Football Club – an 11-a-side football team which
provided competitive football at a very low cost. Martin captained the team for
2 seasons, and progressed into the Leatherhead Football Club Academy when he
reached 18. Martin also travelled to South Africa with LYP youth workers in
2010, which was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime trip that had a big impact on
him.

In 2011, Martin took part in a Youth Alpha course, which is
a 10 week programme exploring an introduction to Christian faith. Martin
completed this with several of his friends and decided to get baptised in June
2012!

That same year in 2012, LYP launched a coffee shop project
for local young people, which would involve training groups of teenagers at
BFree Youth Cafe to be ‘coffee baristas’. Again Martin showed huge leadership
skills, and became the volunteer manager of the coffee shop area, learning
skills such as managing staff and cashing up the till.

Soon after this, having decided that he wanted to become a
youth worker, Martin went to University to study Youth Work and Theology,
completing his main placement at LYP and obtaining his BA in Youth Work in
2016.

During his time at LYP Martin made a huge contribution as
Youth Worker and in his role as BFree Café Manager, giving him the chance to
offer young people the same fun and belonging that he felt all those years ago!
Martin also ran a number of other youth projects, including Freestyle, Total
Football (awarded a National Crimebeat Commendation award), Trips to Romania,
as well as resurrecting the BLAZE project in order to give local teenage boys
the same opportunities he had as a youngster.

What a story. What a man. We wish him all the best on his
extended travels!

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