Gill Proudfoot, Regional Worker for North Edinburgh, talks about the growth she's seeing of SU groups in schools...
Stretching from the Forth Road Bridge to the outskirts of New Town, North Edinburgh is a fascinating area which recently has seen a growth in the number of SU groups in it's schools. Twelve schools in North Edinburgh have their own SU group with, hopefully two more joining them soon this year. In the two and a half years I have been here, we've seen three new SU groups begin and had several groups restart.
Why the popularity of SU groups? A Head Teacher I met recently spoke highly of the reputation that SU Scotland carries, and in her previous schools she observed that SU groups were key for the social development of some children who often did not attend any other clubs. In her view, SU Scotland does immense good (we hope that in a couple of months there will be an SU group in her school too.)
Again and again, I come across schools which would love an SU group to start, but the problem is finding volunteers or teaching staff willing to run them. You don't need to be a wiz with technology or be up to date with the latest trends, just someone who is willing to commit one or two hours a week; willing to listen and get to know a group of children or young people as they share their lives with you (everything from what they had for lunch that day to their greatest fears); who has a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus with the next generation and who will commit to praying for them. Now that doesn't sound too scary, does it?
Having an SU group in school can open up so many exciting opportunities - I've had whole classes go to Lendrick Muir for activity days and school residentials because there was an SU group in their school. I've seen SU groups lead assemblies so they can share with their classmates what they do in the group. Also, relationships with school staff have grown because of the positive influence the SU group is having in their school community.
My vision for North Edinburgh is to see every school that wishes having an active SU group with a positive impact in the school, and that those who attend would feel that SU Scotland is a safe place where they feel valued and accepted, whatever their background, as they are drawn into learning more about Jesus and the difference he can make in our lives.