Cumbrian youngsters to experience ‘slum living’ in church challenge

A group of Cumbrian young people will spend a day living in a ‘slum’ in a special project which raises awareness of world poverty.

The youngsters from the Deanery Network Youth Churches in Solway and Derwent will take part in the 12 hour event outside St John’s Church in Workington next week (Saturday 13 June, 2015).

The Slum Survivor event has been organized by DNYC ministers Yvette Ladds and Sudharshan Sarvananthan and was originally formulated by Christian charity Soul Action which tackles injustice and poverty.

The young people, aged between 11 and 18, will be expected to build their own shelters outside St John’s Church, as well as taking part in manual tasks in the community, including litter picking and sanding down fences, to raise money for charity.

Yvette, who has been the Solway DNYC minister for two years, has previously run Slum Survivor days in Appleby and Kirkby Stephen.

She said: “When we go on camps and away days together the kids are really well looked after in terms of comfort and food. But this time they will experience something very different and I’m not sure they’ve all grasped that yet.

“All they will have on the day is some soup and bread and pasta and tomato sauce later in the day. They can have water to drink but if they want juice or chocolate then they’ll have to buy it and they need to earn the money to do that.

“They’re all very excited about the challenge but I’m not sure they appreciate that, when they arrive, their MP3 players and mobile phones will be taken off them as they need to experience what it feels like to live in those conditions.”

It’s hoped that up to 40 young people will take part in the slum simulation. They will also be expected to run a ‘slum café’ in the church from 2pm to 4pm to raise further money for charity.

The event will also include reflection times and Bible studies for the children as well as opportunity for them to read the testimony of people who live in slums across the world.

The following day (Sunday 14 June, 2015) the youngsters will gather at St Michael’s Church, Workington, part to share their experience with others, including representatives from a local Foodbank and housing charity.

Sudharshan, who is also Priest in Charge of Brigham, Clifton, Dean and Mosser, added: “We hope that this experience will enable conversations to be opened up with the young people about the injustice and poverty experienced by so many people across the world.

“While they may still only be young, those taking part will have had some idea of the difficulties faced by millions of others – of all ages – every day of their lives.”

For more about Slum Survivor go to www.soulaction.org.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.