Spirit in Sport enjoyed 2018 as a year of preparing the field and sowing seed for what we pray will be God’s harvest in 2019 across the city of Portsmouth. It was an exciting year of developments in resources and activities and we’re blessed to be able to continue to enjoy the rented spaces at Immanuel Baptist Church, as well as our outreach activities and partnerships across the city.

Open Churches

The year commenced with the Sunday night provision for the city wide Open Church Project Pilot, involving St Swithuns, Vineyard/Eastney Methodist, St Jude’s, Kings, St Simon’s and Family Church. Spirit in Sport were supported by Cornerstone Church with resource and the kind provision of the Immanuel Baptist Church building to accommodate and feed 10 rough sleepers through January.

The project was a success for the city, by God’s grace. The Family Church venue coordinator Andy Bullock met Chris through the project, and felt God’s call to leave 10 years in transport planning behind to join Chris as part-time Projects Coordinator, whilst also being gifted with a role as Portsmouth School Pastor Coordinator.

Weekly Timetable

The Monday Night Football (Portsmouth High School) saw 4 teams continue to battle it out in a continuous league, including teams representing Harbour Church and retail store Boots.

Tuesday’s Southsea Men’s Shed has seen a steady weekly number of around 7 visitors, enjoying a catch up and undertaking projects including a bench refurbishment for Immanuel Baptist Church, a fence for Madani Academy (Islamic school), two tables, a breakfast bar and panelling feature for the upcoming ‘Careers Cafe’, a new workbench for the Men’s Shed, as well as private projects including a car key box and cupboard doors.

Portsmouth City Council continue to run their ‘Chop, Cook, Chat’ initiative with Spirit in Sport in the kitchen on Tuesday mornings, providing an opportunity for recently bereaved men or carers to learn new recipes in a friendly environment.

Wednesdays saw a buzzing and warm Community Cafe continue to grow in visitor numbers (with the highest recorded being 39), volunteers, and cake choices! The cafe welcomes people from IBC as well as the local community and SiS’ Visiting and Befriending service, and is also further blessed by the presence of the Knit, Sew & Chat club.

As well as opening the space to Girl’s Brigade on Thursdays, we have established a good partnership with local charity ‘Enable Ability’, where people with disabilities visit to enjoy Chris’ fun and challenging games and activities one Friday a month.

With this activities programme running smoothly and the addition of the part time Projects Coordinator all in place, Chris made his way in April to the Annual Reach Gathering in North Carolina, to meet and hear from a wide range of people from Sports Ministry.

Room Redecoration and New Initiatives

In May we received a match fund grant from Portsmouth Action Team for Community Harmony (PATCH) to support the redecoration of the ‘Rainbow Room’, or as Spirit in Sport has adopted it as, ‘Room One’. A summer of redecoration and furniture making has turned the underused dated space into a bright fresh welcoming environment and a gift to the church.

Plans begun to be made for the ‘Careers Cafe’ which is due to officially be launched in February 2019, alongside a new 3×3 Basketball league supported by match funding from the Foundation Partnership. The two coinciding projects bring much needed additional community and sport provision to the local area. Careers Cafe will involve a physical and online support for 16-18 year olds from local schools and churches through 1-2-1 careers interviews with qualified volunteer consultants, and seasonal inspirational talks.

Sports Camp

Our first 2 day Sports Club took place in February half team, where 20 children per day took part in sports games, team building activities, and cooking, repeated again in easter, summer and autumn school holidays. Meanwhile, we provided on-site and outreach sports activities and equipment to Family Church, Portsmouth (June), Kings Church, Southsea (June, September, December), Christ Church Stoke Road, Gosport (August), St Jude’s Church (August & October), and St John’s College (July & September), reflecting our priority of maintaining strong relationships across the city, denominations, churches, and the community.  

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes, Spirit in Sport has done much to professionalise and modernise its administrative set up, including through adopting the use of a Cloud drive, online calendar, online booking, consent and feedback forms, a central database system, a GDPR policy, volunteer packs and decluttering and upgrading its office space, also with the recent benefit of rented WiFi kindly arranged by IBC.

Externally, our website has undergone updates to reflect the current provision and to prepare a new website in 2019, and a new Facebook page has opened. These platforms have allowed for greater distribution of new short promotional films recorded and edited by our volunteer media producer.

Reaching Out

After a team away day for prayer, Bible study and reflection at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in November, and fellowship and inspiration through attendance at the Christians in Sport SMUK conference, we ended 2018 with a push with fundraising applications to support and maximise our natural growth in activity and personnel, including our new part time volunteer office manager and projects assistant intern.

Following Chris’ quick dash to Phoenix Arizona in December to visit CCV church for inspiration from its major sports ministries, the year ended as it begun; as we geared up to welcome another 12 rough sleepers into the Immanuel Baptist Church building. We are grateful to God for the provision of space and in sending us the right people at the right time, allowing us to bless the community and share the love of Jesus with them.

We look forward with anticipation for a harvest in 2019, praise be to God.

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