The Synergy Network (SN), which is a growing coalition of churches, para-church groups, and Christian agencies working to end serious youth violence SYV) in Britain and Ireland, has appointed Laura Besley as its new coordinator to take forward its work.
Laura, who was a former youth pastor at a church in Guildford, Surrey, will be communicating and implementing SN’s vision for tackling SYV and other remedial activities involving young people.
Laura, who previously pioneered an annual youth music festival called Untamed, which grew in success over the years and concluded with the involvement of 31 local churches and many hundreds of young people being blessed, has a desire to see young lives saved and changed.
I am thrilled to be a member of the SN team. I have a passion for church collaboration. I am ready and expectant to be used by God again to unite His churches, and through this loving community to serve and protect our young people.
Laura, who is employed on a part-time basis, will build on the great work that has been developed since the SN was officially launched in 2019. That year, it organised the groundbreaking “Standing Together day of Prayer and Action” rally on Trafalgar Square in central London, which saw thousands gathered to encourage churches to get more involved in the work to address serious youth violence.
That successful event was followed by further large gatherings with senior church leaders, youth workers and practitioners, and young people. On 1 December 2020, the network launched its website that draws together all the Christian programmes, projects, resources, and activities combatting SYV.
SN chair, Bishop Lenford Rowe suggests: ‘Laura’s appointment is yet another piece in our effort to step up our work with the churches, youth work practitioners and families to really address the scourge of serious youth violence. I am really excited by what we can now achieve, and I would encourage churches to make contact with Laura to find out how they can get more involved in our work.’
Les Isaac, CEO of the Ascension Trust and a founder member of the SN comments:
Laura’s appointment comes at a time in which we have witnessed increased pressures on young people and their families from a social, financial, and post COVID perspective. Without increased, coordinated support at this time, more of our young, vulnerable people could find themselves succumbing to activities that are devastating lives and communities across the country.
Bola Ojo, Deputy Chair of the SN adds:
Laura is in a unique position to identify who and where support or advice can be obtained if you are concerned about a vulnerable young person. Often, there is a desire to do something, but no clear route on how best to do this.
It’s vital that SN connects those who are doing excellent work with those who need support. This appointment will bring much needed added capacity, enabling the establishment of partnerships, relationships, and collaborative activities.
To contact Laura, and find out more about the SN, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Laura Besley