Heard us mention Cake Club and wondered what it’s all about? Here’s Laura Wood, Youth & Children’s Worker at St Peter’s Church Shipley, to tell you all you need to know…
As St Peter’s Youth & Children’s Worker, I have the pleasure of working with Zeph for various projects such as holiday clubs and the Light Party; yet the one which I enjoy most is our weekly visit to Salts High School for Cake Club.
Cake Club runs every Tuesday during term time in the school lunch hour. It is a drop-in style club where young people come to have some cake and a natter. We have a bunch of young people who come each week to see us, but we also have individuals who turn up for a one-off visit.
The purpose of Cake Club is not to convert, but to simply be a space for a young person to feel welcome; regardless of their behaviour in school or what has happened in the previous lesson, they know they are always welcome. We hope it is a place where they know they will be listened to, where they feel supported and cared for. We are trying to show, through our actions, God’s love for them. It is a classic example of Zephaniah spreading light into dark corners.
The conversations reflect this and can range from comical to more personal and serious. Some weeks the main topics can be as simple as, ‘did you see this on telly last night?….’, or more puzzling: ‘did Moses have a moustache?..’ Yes, biblical questions can appear, as they are aware we are all Christians, yet they usually are as obscure as the one stated above. At other times, the young people will talk to you about things that are on their mind more, such as how school or home life is for them at the moment, about the argument they have had with their best friend etc. It is in these conversations that the value of Cake Club can be felt most clearly. It is humbling that these young people feel that they are able to share their worries with us.
There is also the cake! Every week we bring a different cake in to be tried and, in some sense, tested. They are baked by several individuals linked to either Zeph or St Peter’s,
but our most regular cake provider is Hazel Wilmshurst. Cake is discussed at length sometimes in the club. After all, cake is a key part of the club, something the young people never forget! Each cake is usually given a critique by one regular-goer and awarded a score out of ten. It provides an easy conversation-starter for shy newcomers and even a welcome snack for passing teachers too.
Salt’s High School seems to welcome Cake Club. The students that pop in seem to enjoy the welcome break (as do passing teachers) plus the normality of having a slice of cake and a catch up in the middle of a sometimes busy and stressful school day. They regularly bring out games to play such as Connect 4, Who’s Who and Jenga. I think the novelty of having someone else willing to sit down and play a game with you, in person, not over a computer is something that the members of Cake Club value; although if asked they would still say computer games are better!
I really enjoy Cake Club and working with all the team from Zeph! I hope they continue putting light into dark corners for the next 20 years to come.