Birmingham Students

Our First Encounter – Down to Earth meets Icircle

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By Scarlett and Charlie from Down to Earth

“Bringing people together isn’t as hard as it seems.

When Down to Earth (our youth group) met with Icircle (from Sparkbrook), it was a warming experience for everyone.  From the minute we arrived, there was no division between us – we happily bonded over games and activities, learning about one another and blossoming new friendships. As the day went on, our groups became one – although different in faith and beliefs, all came together in an exciting experience at Rush Trampoline Park.

Entering the park were an array of newly made friendship groups and by the time we were leaving, the friendships had felt like they were already life-long.  Our only wish was to be able to spend more time with our new companions.

Overall the experience was unforgettable and we hope to meet with Icircle again.”

Scarlett and Charlie are 16 years old and live in Garretts Green, a white working class area of East Birmingham that is rapidly changing with new families moving in.  They go to a youth group called Down to Earth, at St Thomas Church, and their youth worker is Adam.

This year Adam has partnered with The Feast in our Building Better Bridges project, funded by an Awards for All grant.  Over six months Adam will be working with Salma, one of the youth workers at Icircle, an Islamic Society of Britain youth club based at the Bordesley Centre in Sparkbrook. 

After this Youth Encounter, Adam told us,

“The encounter was a real pleasure … all we did as youth workers was to bring the young people together they did the rest. They respected the Guidelines for Dialogue and just got on with each other in a respectful manner. They were able to talk to each other about their differences and similarities.  This led to a space of understanding and acceptance of each other.

A couple of the girls from Down to Earth are still in contact with members from Icircle!

Salma reported,

“My Icircle Youth Group have been receptive, positive and excited about The Feast and meeting Down to Earth. They were keen to get started and many more wanted to join the first encounter than we had spaces for.  

The first encounter was “fun, friendly and interesting” according to one of the boys in my group. Another was already looking forward to the next one!  

It was reassuring to see how quickly the groups felt at ease with each other after only a few minutes during the icebreaker games!  The hour in the trampoline park flew by in a blur of laughter and healthy competition. During lunch, the groups happily discussed questions designed to make them enquire, reflect and understand each other a bit more.  Feedback was mostly positive and mostly about requests for dessert!”

Who would have thought that a few months ago these guys would never have dreamed of being friends.  Imagine!