TLG's newest Education Centre opened in Hull on December 13. Tim Morfin, TLG's Founder and Chief Executive, reflects on why this Centre in particular is of personal significance to him.
Bradford may be known as the birthplace of TLG and the place my family and I call home. However, it was 70 miles to the east, in Hull where I grew up, where the first seeds of the TLG vision were sown.
Hull is a great city with a strong maritime history having been a hub for deep sea fishing. By the time I was growing up, that had largely gone. Although there are other industries that have emerged, it remains one of the ten most deprived areas in the UK, with almost half of the city in the most disadvantaged 10% of areas in the country. Growing up in and around Hull in the 80s, I saw some of the challenges families face when it's difficult to make ends meet.
It was in Hull where God first stirred in my heart a passion for helping people in need. As a 15 year-old, I was determined to see church become more accessible for young people - to be speaking their language, meeting their needs and therefore showing that there is a God who speaks their language and is able to meet their needs.
The church I grew up in ran a lot of community-focused events, reaching out to people in need across the city. My Dad and I would speak to the young people out on the streets and invite them to these events.
It was here I learned the church is so much more than just people meeting on a Sunday. Church is a beacon of hope for so many struggling people, a safe place for young people to grow and a haven for families where they find a loving, caring community.
I didn't know it at the time, but even then God knew the plan He had for me. This was the beginning of the journey to starting TLG.
That is why it is so significant that on December 13 we opened our first Education Centre in Hull, in partnership with Jubilee Church. This is an amazing church with a big heart to help and include everyone. I'm so thankful for their willingness to step out to provide hope for young people at risk of exclusion from school. I want to say how grateful I am for Steve Whittington, the leader of Jubilee Church, and the whole church congregation. Their hard work, faith and vision in getting the Centre up and running is such a great thing.
Every TLG programme we run is special, but this one is extra special. An Education Centre in my hometown. That has to be one of the best ways to mark the end of TLG's 20th anniversary year.
We've assembled a fantastic team to run the Centre. Andrew will be our Centre Manager and he will be supported by Dawn our Classroom Teacher. We were really impressed by Andrew and Dawn and their heart to see children's lives transformed. We are so excited to have them on board and for the impact we know they will have in their local community.
With children across Hull growing up in difficult circumstances, I'm excited for the impact this Centre will have in transforming the lives of these children and their families. There are children across Hull currently struggling on the fringes of their education, resigned to their future looking bleak at best.
TLG Hull is about to intervene at a critical stage and show each child that needs us, they do have a hope and a future.
We know our Education Centres work. 91% of young people who come through our Education Centres are making 'expected' or 'better than expected' progress in English and Maths and 94% of young people from our Centres who progressed to school, further education, training or employment are still thriving 12 months later.
This is the difference the team will make. I look forward to sharing with you in the future about the first success stories from our Hull Education Centre. Watch this space.
If you would like to read more about Tim's background, leading to the start of TLG, you can order your FREE copy of his book 'Out of the Ordinary' here.
Tim Morfin is the founder and Chief Executive of TLG. Tim, together with a group of other volunteers from a local church, began TLG by helping young people struggling in school in Bradford. He now leads the organisation nationally, still committed to bringing hope and a future to children and their families. He is married to Rachel and has three teenage sons.