A team of intercessors from Poynton Christian Fellowship, supported by some from other churches in Poynton, has been meeting together for the past three years, praying regularly and seeking the Lord about how the church can 'CONNECT' with the large numbers of young people who congregate in various parts of Poynton, particularly on Friday evenings. They are praying in support of the CONNECT TEAM who work as 'street pastors' amongst the young people of Poynton. The CONNECT TEAM believe that as they go out boldly into the community, God leads them and guides them with His wisdom.
Over the past few years, through a number of joint ventures, including the very successful youth Gateway Project which was held each week in our building, the Hockley Centre, PCF has built up a strong relationship with local community leaders. As part of the Poynton Parish Plan to which members of Churches Together in Poynton contributed much in the way of manpower, research and writing, there is now a Youth Engagement Stream dedicated to the young people of Poynton.
The CONNECT TEAM was formed to go out into the Community and its vision has always been to work closely with, and to complement the work of the Youth Engagement Stream and the local Police. The team initially went out on the streets of Poynton accompanied by members of the local Police and then continued on their own. Since then the cross generational CONNECT TEAM has been serving the young people of Poynton, every Friday for the past three years. Through this work, the team has gained the support and backing of the Youth Engagement Stream, the Police and Community Police Support Officers, Cheshire East Council and David Rutley, our local Member of Parliament. Every member of the team is fully trained and have all completed the appropriate CRB checks. The street team is made up of school-aged Christians, older Christian youth and also parent figures.
Through CONNECT, and other youth initiatives, genuine connections are being made with the youth of Poynton and also with their families. Little by little, their needs are being met and many of their frustrations addressed.
In 2010, Chris Norbury the Founder of Connect received an award from Cheshire East Council for the work of Connect and the project is now being held up as a model in nearby communities. The local MP, David Rutley holds the project in high esteem and in early 2011 went out on the streets with Chris and the team to see the project in action.