Mary (61) shares her story of life on the Flaxley Road estate in Selby and how the Edge Community at our Selby Centre of Mission has had a huge impact, not only on her life but also on the lives of her grandchildren.
There’s something about the Flaxley Road estate that’s toxic for teenagers. So many of them drink too much, take drugs and get pregnant in their teens. Maybe it’s because there isn’t much for them to do around here.
I have five granddaughters, the youngest is five and the oldest is 17. I’m very close to my granddaughters. My most frequent prayer is: “Lord, keep my family safe. Let me live until my granddaughters no longer need me.”
My oldest granddaughters, Katie (17) and Sophie (15), are part of the Bus Stop project. They’ve had their fair share of problems, with no dad around and their mum struggling with substance misuse. They moved in with me when they were very young. I’m the one who brought them up, so they consider me more of a mother than a grandmother.
The bus gives our teenagers somewhere positive to go to. I know a lot of the teenagers have a relationship of trust with the bus project team, telling them things they wouldn’t speak to other adults about. I think it’s because the young people sense that Richard, Neil, Emily really care about them and have their best interests at heart.
On Sundays, I take my younger granddaughters to Messy Church, so that they can learn about God. Sometimes I tease them by saying: “Should we not go to Messy Church today?” and they shout: “No, we want to go! We want to go!” Chloe (8), also attends the Jaffa after school club, and really enjoys it.
What I like best about the Edge Community is that they bring church into our community, rather than the other way around. If God is omnipresent, it follows that we can talk to him anytime, anywhere. Richard and Neil are great because I can have very open and honest conversations with them. They don’t preach to me, their attitude is: “Come on, let’s find out together…”
I’m quite reserved and don’t like to bother people with my problems. It’s weird though, Richard and his wife, Kath, only need to take one look at me, and know immediately if there’s something wrong! I know that I could knock on their door at 2am in the morning, and I wouldn’t get turned away. Richard has helped me in many practical ways too. They’re genuinely good people, they’re what I aspire to be like. You can feel the love that’s inside them. They are a living example of God’s love.
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Georgia also attends the Bus Stop Project at our Selby Centre of Mission – read her story here.
You can also read more stories of transformation here.