StreetLight is a Christian Charity. Here is our vision and story.
For every young person and family in Wimborne to hear and experience the love and light of Jesus.
As Benjamin Mee once said:
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
The StreetLight Project started life in Wimborne in March 2010 in partnership with the Leigh Park Initiative. StreetLight’s founder and director Andy Putt, who was Youth Pastor at St John’s Church at the time, headed up a team who went to Leigh Park on Saturday evenings to chat with young people and share food, hot chocolate – and how Jesus had made a difference in their lives. Some great conversations were had and some great friendships were formed.
However, the origin of the StreetLight story goes back to 2002 in Southampton, when 17-year-old Andy first felt that God inspired him with the idea of a community centre, café and skate park which would offer a welcoming environment for all ages. It would be a place for fun and relaxation, a community resource and a place for young people and adults who don’t engage with church to find out about Christian faith.
For the next ten years, Andy put the idea on the back-burner and ‘got on with life’, embracing opportunities like running a high-street café, setting up a charity (Unite), working with troubled secondary school pupils, heading up the youth work at his local church, organising Christian youth events, coming to Wimborne to be Youth Pastor at St John’s in 2007 and studying for a degree in Community Evangelism and Theology.
But the skate park wouldn’t go away, and in the summer of 2012, Andy had a clear sense that God was telling him it was the right time for the StreetLight skate project to start! He did a lot of thinking and praying, and in January 2013 took the courageous step of giving up his youth pastor job, his salary and house, and started working full-time to establish The StreetLight Centre, relying on God to provide what he needed.
And the rest, as they say, is history: a warehouse in Stone Lane, Wimborne, became available and planning permission for change of use was obtained. Building work started on the 5th of November 2013 and on the 28th of March 2014 the doors of StreetLight opened to the public! Something great has indeed come from embarrassing bravery.
To enable young people and families to hear and experience God’s love in a supportive, safe, friendly and fun environment. We have a heart for our community, engaging with schools, churches, youth projects and other local organisations.
Behind every great centre and charity is a great team. This is made up of staff, trustees, volunteers, team riders and support workers. Without these amazing people we would be in trouble!