Starting a new job during the pandemic has been extremely difficult, however the Children's and Youth Outreach Worker at Emmanuel Church, Waterthorpe has made a big impact in his first year of his new role.
Dan Morrell joined Emmanuel in September 2020 and immediately started making links with the young people, other youth workers in Sheffield and the local schools as well as taking part in training courses to boost his skills.
Working online Dan has been able to create great relationships with the young people and in February 2021 he joined forces with another church to create an online holiday club. When restrictions allowed Dan has met with young people in small groups and in August he was able to arrange some day trips with other youth workers in Sheffield.
Eleven young people visited Parson House Outdoor Pursuit Centre where they took part in rock climbing, abseiling, bouldering and an obstacle course before enjoying pizza at church in the evening. All the young people grew in confidence over the weekend and took part in more activities than they thought they would.
Comments from parents include: "Thank you every so much to you, they had a great time and great photos. Thanks a million."
"F has loved it. She is so grateful and said our group is so different from other groups she tried and left."
Dan said: "It has been a real challenge starting this role during a pandemic, however we are starting to see the seeds of growth emerging.
"Communicating and creating relationships online can be hard, so I tried to make it fun and as engaging as possible. It was great when we could meet in small groups and the day trips in August where very timely as the young people where desperate to see their friends.
"Many of the young people were nervous as they hadn't experienced activities like it before, but we gave them lots of encouragement, allowed them to watch first and most importantly we had lots of laughs.
"I have lots of plans for the future including work in the schools, creating new groups for junior school age children and arranging more trips and residentials for 2022."
Dan has also made an impact in the wider church congregation too. He is an expert in audio visuals and he has been instrumental in upgrading the technology used within the building and ensuring services have been streamed online. He is training some of the young people to use the systems too to boost their skills and to allow them to be more involved in the church.
The District provided a Transforming Mission Grant to Emmanuel to be used in conjunction with Dan's work.
Neil Harland, District Mission Development Support Worker, said: "I was encouraged by the courage and commitment to finding new ways of engaging with young people that Emmanuel Waterthorpe showed when they created and recruited this role in the early stages of the Covid pandemic. Their sustained people-focussed creativity over the last year is already bearing fruit, which is just what we had hoped when we provided a transforming mission grant."
You can find out more about the Transforming Mission grants the District offer by visiting https://www.sheffieldmethodist.org/what-we-do/finance-fundraising/mission-grants.html or email Neil Harland at email@example.com to discuss further.