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Ginni and I have embarked on our 19th year running Jamie's Gang. The club meets at Burston Chapel on Wednesdays between 5.00pm and 6.30pm. Jamie’s Gang is for children of primary school age, this means the age range is 4 - 11 years old as most of the local schools have a reception class. A 50p subscription is paid for each child that attends and there is also a tuck shop, the profits from which help contribute to paying for the craft materials and any other "props" that are needed for the activities on club nights. These are initially paid for by the offerings of the congregation who gather for worship at the Chapel. Ginni and myself are not funded for our part, nor are the volunteers who help. When Don Swanton was alive he initiated a regular gift from St Mary's PCC to the Chapel to assist with any expenses in the work amongst the children, a very kind gesture that mops up any extra costs where necessary.
Most club nights are spent in the Chapel though we do from time to time use other areas of the village. The children look forward to the nature trail at Green Lane, we have done a litter pick in conjunction with South Norfolk District Council a couple of times on the playing field (only safe place to do one really, and there's not a great deal of litter to pick, you'll be glad to hear). Mrs. Hoff recently suggested a re-run of an evening with her where we went and looked at her orchard and each child went back with a huge bag of apples. We also had a dance night at St Mary's when a 10 strong dance troop came and did some energetic dances with the children. (rather them than me!) At the end of Summer term, we have a family BBQ with inflatables, which seems to go down well.
In terms of members, we had a total of 47 children attend in the last school session. Out of that 47 we probably have a pool of about 30/35 children from which we can have anything between 15 - 25 children on a night. Children come from 4 local primary schools. In terms of leadership Ginni and I are the main leaders. We then have a couple of young leaders - Anna, our daughter being one of them (currently doing a Young Leaders course run by the Diocese of Norwich) and another young girl who is currently doing her Duke of Edinburgh at Diss High School and is doing her community service element with us. A few of our former members have done this over the years and their help has been very welcome. Also, we have a parent helper rota. This is made up of some of the mum's of members who come along to help with various elements of the evening and help watch over the children.
The activities are usually simple crafts. After a busy school day we find they don't want to do anything too adventurous. We play a few games, we sometimes watch a video animation in the winter months (can't see the picture properly when it's still light outside). We have a short talk or story, school assembly-style which is broadly Christian in nature but which, I think, anybody could derive some benefit from even if they have no faith.
Pastor Sam Brinkley
Author: Pastor Sam Brinkley
Uploaded: 17 March 2017