International Day of Peace

Nearly a quarter of people in the world are affected by fragility, conflict and violence, and conflict is the cause of 80% of humanitarian need. 

21st September is recognised globally as the International Day of Peace, when people across the world join together to promote reconciliation. As people of God, we know it’s vital that any work for peace is underpinned by prayer.

So will you join us in prayer on that special day?

  • We’ve produced a CHIPS prayer card for you to use and share. Please encourage friends and family to pray too – you can order printed prayer cards to pass on by calling us on 020 7078 7439 or emailing info@chipspeace.org.

Click on the image to download the pdf or click here for an image (jpg) version.

  • Could you also encourage your place of worship to incorporate the CHIPS prayer into their service on 23rd September, which is Peace Sunday, so your congregation can join in praying for peace too?

  • Over the five days from the International Day of Peace, we will be posting a series of prayers for peace on social media and our website. Please join us in those prayers if you are on social media or follow our website blog.   

  • Finally, if you’re on social media, please tell us your plans for the International Day of Peace: let us know why peace is your passion and share your own prayers. Please remember to tag us and use the hashtag #PeaceDayPrayers.  

We’re so grateful to you for your support, both in prayer and donations. Prayer is a vital cornerstone of peacemaking  – and every day we see answers to prayer in the work we do to heal divisions in communities. In Brixton where we are seeing the lives of you people affected by violence changing through our relationship building work in schools and on the streets and in Ghana where former enemies from opposing tribes are now fast becoming friends.

Thank you again for all your support and interest in CHIPS and our work. We believe that together we can make a difference to reducing the levels of conflict and violence, wherever we are. 
Yours sincerely,


Paul Maxwell-Rose                        
Co-Director (Programmes)            

Andrew Jackson
Co-Director (Development)

THE CHIPS TEAM GROWS

We’re very pleased to let you know that Andrew Jackson joined our UK team in July as Co-Director (Development), as we moved to a co-leadership structure, with Paul Maxwell-Rose becoming Co-Director (Programmes).

Andrew joins CHIPS from the staff team at Kerith Community Church in Bracknell where he oversaw the church’s social justice initiatives. 

Prior to that Andrew was a solicitor with 18 years experience in private practice and industry. 

Andrew will take on responsibility for all our operations including communications and fundraising, releasing Paul to focus all his knowledge and experience of peacemaking on our projects in Ghana and Brixton and to explore invitations to work elsewhere in the world.

Can you help us raise £4,000?

As an early challenge for our new leadership team, Paul and Andrew are taking on the 100km Thames Path Challenge in early September.

Travelling from Putney to Henley, they will walk all day on Saturday 8th and through the night to arrive at Henley sometime on Sunday morning. 

Peacemaking can often be a long journey that requires energy and stamina, and this challenge will reflect all of that.

You’ll be able to check their progress through our social media accounts on the day. 

If you would like to sponsor them and help achieve their target of £4000, you can do that here:

https://mydonate.bt.com/teams/chips100kmforpeace

 

A trip to Flip Out

Josh recently took a group of our Brixton youngsters to the wonderful Flip Out in Wandsworth. As you can see, a great time was had by everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London’s knife crisis

by Paul Maxwell-Rose


The threat of violence is an everyday reality for many young people across our capital, particularly for those we live and work alongside in Brixton.

Violence is sometimes experienced on the streets through knife crime, but it’s also in our homes, in interactions with authorities and police, on social media, and in many other arenas of life.

Our experience says that young people wish that this was not the case — they would much rather have the freedom to develop and flourish. However for those most affected the fear of violence means they have to develop a means to protect themselves.

Many hide their true selves under a hardened outer demeanour, find people to back them up, grow a reputation for violence themselves, or even carry a weapon.

Current press coverage is very focused on the young people themselves, often implying that they could (or should) make different choices to get themselves out of the situation. Even when a very young person is involved and therefore is seen as a victim, the blame is often laid on the older members.

Yet the truth is so much harder – it’s not an issue of good guys and bad guys – nobody wins in this world. Some older people at the top might be making a lot of money, but many are feeling just as trapped and desperate as the new kid just starting out.

Just last week at an event hosted by the Synergy Network I listened to a young man called Destiny tell his story of working his way to the top of a group dealing drugs when he was a teenager. When he started out it was hard, but he thought that those at the top had everything, so he wanted to be in a similar position But when he got there it was just as hard and scary as when he’d first got involved. He wished he could get out, but didn’t know any other life.

These lives are very hidden from the wider world, and many of the people involved – or affected – don’t want to speak out. When something huge is kept hidden for so long it will one day blow up – and we’re suddenly seeing that exposure now.

The fact is we are all part of the society where this violent and hidden world has grown and is destroying so many lives – and we must wake up to the fact that we are all partly responsible for it.

Dez Brown, CEO of the fantastic Spark2Life, who now employs Destiny to work with young people, said at the Synergy event, “We as adults are the custodians of the our society – our children are products of it. So we are the ones who have created this situation”

I see a key factor as the breakdown and disconnection of relationships across society – there is growing relational separation between people from different classes, backgrounds, and wealth levels; between communities and government; between generations; between authorities like the police and those the communities they are meant to protect or support; between the systems of education and the children in our schools…I could go on.

These are issues all of us are involved with, and therefore all of us are responsible for. Which means we all – together – have the potential to change it.

I believe the key to change is the rebuilding of relationships and the overcoming of the division and disconnection in our society. And we can all do that.

We must start by facing our fears: the further we are from someone, the less we understand about their lives, and the more fear grows. Whether we’re afraid the young men who hang out at the end of our street are dangerous, or whether our neighbours will think we’re weird if we try to talk to them, or whether we think no one will care or listen if we try to speak up about an injustice to our local government, there’s a lot of fear of ‘the other‘ around us.

Building relationships always begins with moving through our fear of ‘the other‘ and reaching out. If we all start to do that a bit more, then maybe we’ll start to re-form the web of healthy divide-crossing relationships which form the basis of a peaceful, healthy, flourishing society.

There are so many examples of brilliant people doing this around us who we can learn from. Dez and his team at Spark2Life build relationships and work with people in prisons, on the street, in schools, making deep, lasting (and transformative) connections which show those who feel marginalised by society that they have value, are worthy of love, and have a future.

Our amazing neighbour in Brixton, Pastor Lorraine Jones and her team at Dwaynamics show so much love to the young people who come to learn boxing. Their programmes give young people purpose, determination and passion, then help them to develop their skills to get into work and education. Most importantly it shows them they have value, opportunities, and a place in society.

We’ve had a privilege of working with some amazing young men in a local school – young men going through some really tough times. They’re involved with the criminal justice system, under threat of exclusion from school and many other things. But by taking the time to build relationships, through games and activities; by having fun together, and showing that these guys are valued through open, honest, mutual relationships, we and the school are starting to see them flourish.

We’re also starting some exciting new work, stepping up a focus on using Community Organising methods to build up relational networks in and across communities in Brixton. As members of South London Citizens we’ve learnt new methods for how to empower and develop community leaders. These methods help grow strong and active groups of people who are mobilised to use their relational power to bring about positive changes in their communities.

We believe this will fit perfectly with the practical and relational focus of CHIPS, enabling the communities we work with to cross divides, create that web of relationships, and work together to bring about the relational, societal and structural changes which are will lead to a reduction in violence. 

We all have a responsibility, and we can all be part of the solution.

Brixton Volunteer

Brixton Community Volunteers
c. 0.5 days a week, with accommodation at heavily subsidised rent

Are you looking for an interesting and exciting way to live out your faith? Are you passionate about peacemaking and social justice? Are you interested in living in South London as part of a christian community? Do you want to join in a story of peacemaking that’s been developing for over 50 years and counting?

Sound like you – or someone you know?

CHIPS has an exciting volunteer opportunity to join our project in Brixton, South London. For the past three years a committed team of volunteers have been exploring peacemaking in Brixton, living in the Loughborough Estate community hosting meals, summer parties, doing youth work – and supporting families when they ask for help.

We are seeking volunteers to move into the CHIPS flats (with subsidised rent) to join in with the life of team and the wider community. One room is available now and another from September 2018.

We are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer ideally with interest in or experience of one or all of the following:

  • youth work in a structured and unstructured setting;
  • community work and engagement with local community groups, including churches and schools;
  • community living, offering hospitality, and group prayer.

You will have a key role to play in shaping the project and helping to facilitate peace in South London and will join a supportive team, with plenty of opportunities for training and development.


Rent is £500 per month inc. bills

There are two rooms in neighbouring flats available, one with two young professionals and one with a married couple and their young son.

Team members are expected to support their living costs with a part time job (c. 4.5 days a week – to enable the flexibility to participate in community projects).

You will have the opportunity to design a volunteer role that works for you and your interests.


CHIPS is committed to safeguarding the children and young people we work with, so the appointment is subject to a DBS check.

Please get in touch with Angharad (angharad-thain@hotmail.co.uk) if you have any questions and are interested in getting involved with CHIPS.

 

 

 

Goats, Ghana and Gain

On a recent trip to Ghana Paul Maxwell-Rose visited Wulensi, the capital of the Nanumba South district in northern Ghana.

Among many inspirational stories, Fatima’s stood out, in its simple evocation of the life-changing difference our work can make, both now, and in the future.

Fatima’s husband died six years ago, leaving her to bring up five children on her own. In Ghana only primary education is free, and with three children of secondary school age Fatima had been struggling to make ends meet for several years.

Joining CHIPS’ Animal Rearing Programme has enabled Fatima to stabilise the family finances, and is acting as a catalyst for a more secure – and ambitious – future.

Before working with our group Fatima had no animals of her own. On starting the programme she bought a goat of her own, and CHIPS gave her two more. She now has seven animals, having also sold four – enabling her to send her older three children to school.

Fatima’s animal rearing group meets once a month in Wulensi to discuss the challenges (and share the successes!) of keeping animals. The support and encouragement in these meetings is incredibly helpful, and the two CHIPS team members who attend are able to share their skills and experience too – sometimes bringing vets and agricultural experts as well.

Fatima now has her sights firmly set on a brighter future. If she sells four to six more goats, she’ll have enough capital to invest in a rice processing business – transforming her ability to generate income not just for education, but the whole family.

Previously Fatima was dependent on menial work for others for all her income – and was finding it increasingly difficult to keep her head above water. She now has fulfilling self-employment, has turned around the family finances, and is improving not only her prospects, but those of her children.

We beekeeping it real in Ghana

For most people across the Wulensi region in Ghana, subsistence farming is the main source of family income.

With regular droughts and irregular farm yields, families are faced with tough decisions: to stop school, stop medicine, or even stop eating. The living reality of food insecurity aggravates tensions between the Nanumba and Dagomba tribes.

When everybody relies on the land, conflicts over its ownership are  regular occurrences that are frequently expressed via the ethnic differences in the community. For young adults who don’t have land of their own this frustration is even greater, and many young men and women are forced to migrate to urban areas in search of work, often in unskilled and unsafe jobs.

The communities we work with want to see change. They know that with a few extra jobs and a few extra skills, they can improve their local market and help future generations to thrive. They’ve asked our team for help. Together, we have established teams of beekeepers drawn from both sides of the conflict divide, who work together to establish small businesses.

Our team provides the materials and help participants to find a suitable location for the hive, connecting them with neighbours if this is on their land. We then provide training and help from experts to build the expertise of groups, and improve the harvest.

The group then helps each other with harvesting the honey, building relationships between both sides. They sell the honey at an affordable price to their community, raising the availability of this important ingredient, and giving families an extra income.

The skills are kept within communities, and slowly income is diversifying, with more jobs, more friendship, and more honey. Simple!