Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Growing Young Leaders is a programme which offers young people aged 13-18 the opportunity to spend 6 months serving in leadership in their local church/community whilst meeting with other young people on the programme to discover more about leadership and to explore their vocation. Young people are paired with a mentor throughout the duration of the programme to support them in their local setting.


We are planning for the eventuality that some of the programme may need to be delivered online, under the current government restrictions. Although we hope to be able to gather in person, we will work hard to ensure that the same quality content and support will be available for this year’s cohort via other means, if necessary.


The programme is currently available in the Colchester Area.
If you'd like to know about supporting young leaders in the Bradwell or Barking area please contact your youth adviser.

The programme includes:

  • 3 Training Days (Usually in September, November, January and March)
  • A November residential weekend
  • A Commissioning Service (often combined with the final training day)
  • A mentor throughout the programme

This programme is free but we invite churches to make a £60 contribution towards running costs.

Examples of leadership opportunities which young people were able to take as part of this programme so far:

  • Leading children’s work
  • Leading worship (music, readings and prayers)
  • Leading messy church activities
  • Leading and supporting special events (quiz, Christingle)
  • Leading a service
  • Leading youth sessions
  • Organising and Leading a Holiday club
  • Becoming a Eucharistic Assistant


Dates 2020/1

Colchester Area
Feedback from young people was overwhelmingly clear – they valued time together with peers, and they also wanted to have enough time during the day to explore the teaching without feeling rushed. We have therefore expanded the course, to include three training days, and a weekend residential.

Training Day 1: 26th September 2020 (Great Notley)
Residential Weekend: 27th – 29th November 2020
Training Day 2: 16th January 2021 (Great Notley)
Training Day 3 & Commissioning Service: 6th March 2021 (Great Notley)

We will also offer some opportunities for young people to connect and pray with each other in between training days via a virtual meeting space.

Documents with more information and application forms can be found at the base of this page.

Information for Mentors

As part of this programme each young person will have a mentor. The role of the mentor is to act as someone who can provide pastoral support, opportunities for reflection and be an advocate for their mentee. We ask all of our mentors to meet with their mentee once a month during the programme. These meetings can include whatever content mentor and mentee feel is appropriate but we also provide some suggested outlines, resources and questions. We are in the process of developing a booklet which will help guide mentors through their role and provide content to cover during meetings.

Mentors are recruited and selected in partnership between the young person’s sending church and the Area Youth Adviser. Mentors are required to go through their parish’s volunteer vetting procedures (including an enhanced DBS check) and are provided with safeguarding guidance specific to their role as a mentor.

Mentors need to be able to commit to six meetings throughout the course of the programme and we ask that they join the young people for the commissioning service.

If you wish to discover more about mentoring young people we highly recommend that you read a copy of the Grove Booklet ‘Mentoring and Young People’ by Joel Toombs.  You can pick it up digitally or in print here:

Mentors are required to sign the Mentor Agreement and Consent formsMentor Agreement | Mentor Consent Form

 What young people say about this programme

“I feel like I’ve grown into a better leader, the course has helped me realise what type of leader I want to be”

“I feel more confident and determined to grow”

“I’m looking forward to using my leadership skills within and outside of church.”

“I feel empowered and encouraged to be involved with the community of Christianity and my church, as well as my school.”

“It’s been an amazing experience and has built my confidence massively.”

“I do think I have grown in my relationship with God in the way I can speak to God much more easily”

“Taking part in the programme  gave me a better understanding on leadership in the Bible.”

“Taking part in the programme has helped me experience the love of God and how the Holy Spirit can come in all different shapes and sizes (other young people and mentors).”

“Through taking part in this programme my relationship has become more of my own bond rather than my parents’ belief. I feel I now have my own connection with God.”

What young people’s families’ say about this programme

“It has helped my daughter to not only grow in faith but find ways to be part of the community.”

“It has increased my daughter’s independence and has given her a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility outside of the home.”

“My son has enjoyed the sessions and the new friendships he has made. It has been beneficial for him to meet with a mentor.”

“My daughter’s faith has grown and her relationship with God is getting stronger.”

“Our son has become more reflective in his approach to life.”

“Logistics, timings and locations have been great.”


How to sign up and find out more

To find out more and apply please download and complete the below documents. The application form needs to be emailed to your Area Youth Adviser. Your minister or youth worker will be asked to provide a short reference for you (this is mostly so they know you’re getting involved with this exciting project!)

Dot Salmon - Colchester Area Youth Adviser -

Forms:  Application Form | 2020/21 Information

For more information please contact Mark Tiddy
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