Our Vision, Ethos, Background and Principles

‘That every young person in Birmingham has access to a Safe Space in their neighbourhood’.

Behind this vision are some core values/ethos

Core to Safe Spaces is the well being and flourishing of young people & in wanting to play a part in helping them be all they can be, in helping them develop positive relationships, identity, self-esteem, resilience and aspirations.

A desire to see a flourishing Birmingham with young people fully being a part. ‘A good city to grow up in’ (Zech 8:4 msg)

Whilst it has a big vision for Birmingham, at its heart Safe Spaces is about the local; about local youth work and about young people having a safe place to connect with others in their own neighbourhood.

This vision is inspired by the Christian faith of individuals, churches and organisations involved, a faith that calls us to ‘seek the welfare of the city’ (Jer 29:7), to love God and in doing so to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mtt 22: 37-39).

A commitment to the guiding principles of running a Safe Spaces, known as the ‘5P’s’.

Mobilising the church:

We aspire to see the Church, in all its varied forms, inspired, equipped, and supported to play its part in enabling this vision to happen, and to create Safe Spaces for Young People as part of their mission and as a practical outworking of God’s love.

Relationships, connection and collaboration:

At the heart of the network is a desire to connect people to one another and building relationships both within the Safe Spaces themselves, and across the city with those running and supporting them.

We also recognize that for the vision to become to reality that churches cannot do it alone and that collaboration and connection with others is an important part of a flourishing city.

While our main focus is to encourage and resource churches to run Safe Spaces we are keen to work with others of all faiths and none, this is particularly key in some parts of the city where there is little or no Christian presence. We are also keen to connect, collaborate and develop reciprocal relationships with those with specialist expertise to support, train and equip those running Safe Spaces.

Spirituality:

We recognise spirituality as an important part of the flourishing of young people, whatever their faith.

Inclusive Network:

Safe Spaces is developed from a Christian vision and ethos and as such seeks to be an inclusive network that embraces other groups and organisations that may not identify as Christian but run their Safe Spaces in line with the guiding principles know as the 5P’s and are able to respect the Christian vision and ethos on which the network was formed.

Background:

The vision for a network of Safe Spaces for Young People began in 2015, with a group of Christian youth workers from across the city coming together with a shared passion for young people and a desire to see a city where young people feel safe, valued and are able to be all that they can be.

At a similar time Places of Welcome was developing in Birmingham, which was growing an inclusive network of hospitality and welcome gathered around a set of principles and values known as the 5p’s.

Whilst the context for Places of Welcome different, having come out of Birmingham’s social inclusion enquiry, it was felt that a similar network for young people would be worth exploring. Building on Places of Welcome and the passion and vision of the group of Christian youth workers the 5P’s were adapted and adopted as the guiding principles for Safe Spaces network.

Some mapping and relationship building happened in different parts of the city but capacity was limited. In 2019, with a years funding secured, Steve Hirst was appointed to develop the Safe Spaces network with the support of an advisory board of Christian youth workers and supporting organisations.