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Home News High Sheriff Award for Steve Dewar of Wellsprings Benefice

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High Sheriff Award for Steve Dewar of Wellsprings Benefice

by Michael Ford last modified 23 Feb, 2022 08:26 PM

Steve Dewar, Lay Pastoral Assistant for Wellsprings Benefice, and senior worker at Wiltshire Youth for Christ, has been awarded a High Sheriff Award for his service to young people.

Steve has over 20 years' experience in youth work, with his first call to it at just 14 years old. Since then, regardless of job or location, he has continued to serve young people and show them God's love, "with persistence". 
Steve has shared with us what led to him receiving this award: 
"Sir Charles Hobhouse is the current High Sheriff of Wiltshire, and he is keen to promote working with young people, and particularly the impact that mental health is having on young people at the moment. As part of visiting lots of organisations and community groups, he gave me an opportunity to share about some of the work Youth for Christ do."  

"The past ten years we have seen cuts and challenges - I don't know if it's just stubbornness, or commitment, but we've just carried on doing what we're doing. The challenges are there and increasing, but we're dedicated to keep doing what God calls us to do for as long as we can." 
This steadfast hold of what God has called Steve to do is not a recent thing, limited to his work with Youth for Christ, but something he felt God call him to as a teenager: 

"For me, it really starts when I was a 14-year-old lad, and I remember very vividly walking to school. It was on my heart to be a better dad than my dad was. I was living in a council estate with divorced parents that had their own challenges and my dad spent most of my childhood in prison. My family history is somewhat dysfunctional. But God broke my heart, whether it's my own child or someone else's, to be that that loving, supportive relationship that they need. My desire now is to make sure that young people know that they're loved. That's where the church is called to be out of the building, loving and serving everyone, but especially to be hope for our young people." 
Indeed, much of the work that Steve has done has been purposefully taken to young people, rather than trying to bring them into church buildings, especially as he works with lesser reached rural areas. Regardless of the obstacles, pandemic related or otherwise, the young people Steve has worked with have been supported and heard, be it in person or online: 
"For 10 years we have been running a youth group on a weekly basis, providing a safe and engaging space, with opportunities to chat to, encourage, to listen to young people. I'm also involved in schools-based work as well - we deliver weekly mentoring in schools, which didn't stop throughout lockdown. I'm currently in three secondary schools across four days, meeting more and more young people."  

"On top of that, we have a dedicated youth work vehicle set out with multimedia games consoles, seating, flat screens, and awnings. We take that to villages where they don't have a dedicated space to engage with church groups, or young people." 
The work Steve and his team do is fundamental to making sure young people feel understood, heard and supported – especially significant as recent studies showed that 95% of teachers have seen a decrease in their students' mental health. This is something Steve has also seen first-hand: 
"We've got waiting lists of young people to mentor. Schools are asking us to support them, we receive emails from heads, and I even have direct contact from parents to say, is there any chance that you meet with my child? It's heart breaking. The schools do not have the resources, and it breaks my heart that we that don't the capacity to do more. We are now training and equipping volunteers for local churches, to be able to engage with their local secondary schools to provide that support." 
The honour from The High Sheriff was well deserved - he says: "Steve has done so much trying to help young people in Wiltshire, driving the pop-up Youth Café Van to rural locations and filling the void left by the sad lack of youth clubs available. Well done." 

It is clear that youth workers need our prayers, encouragement, and support across the board – do pray for their work, financially contribute, or volunteer to join them occasionally if you can. 

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