My name is Steven Stanier, and I’ve just joined The Feast as a youthworker in Birmingham.
I have worked across the Birmingham area for 15 years in different roles for various organisations – from Birmingham City Council Youth service, Connexions, Social Services children and families, In-volve HIAH drug and alcohol treatment services, plus voluntary work with the Youth Offending Team and various third sector organisations. I even had the fantastic opportunity to work in the Middle East teaching English last year too!
My career has always been focused on working to improve the lives and opportunities that are available to young people. When I first saw the advert for the youthworker post here, I was happy to see that youth workers were still needed in the city following the changes to public sector provision.
In my past work, I have always been aware of the secular way that statutory services required us to work in relation to faith and religion. We knew it was there for us as youthworkers, we knew young people faced such issues, but we never dealt with them. What always struck me as strange and disempowering was that we weren’t allowed to discuss or use the issues that a faith-based lifestyle presented for young people, nor could we address the problems that they faced as a result of belonging to a particular faith group.
After 9/11 and 7/7, as lot of the Muslim young people felt increasingly marginalised. Reports of violence and abuse against them increased and the issues they faced seemed to be worse than ever. Gradually social events began to change the nature of youthwork. I’m pleased to say that working for The Feast, I feel a real opportunity to get into the discussions and have dialogue with youth groups that actually get to the heart of some of the issues that affects them in their daily lives.
I look forward to impacting our community and the lives of young people through my work, and continuing this bridge-building, faith-driven initiative that has already had huge benefits for many young people in and around the city.