Saturday, 2 November 2019

The Jesus Centre

Before the Northampton Jesus Centre opened in 2004 I was tasked with researching community needs in Northampton and laying out the vision for a centre to serve the people of Northampton.

I visited a whole bunch of other community centres around the country and many projects serving the community in Northampton already, both for inspiration and to understand the needs in the area and different ways of meeting those needs.

A drop in centre for the homeless was already planned, piloted in one of the commercial properties attached to the cinema. I helped two of our local members setup and start running a mums and babies group called Little Ark, initially running in a community hall.

My report on the needs of Northampton outlined a vision of "holistic care", trying to meet as many of the needs of individuals we served. Alongside this was a vision of empowering our members to use their skills and vision, plus develop new skills, to serve the people of Northampton.

The not-so-covert aim of the Jesus Centres was to find new victims to join the community.

I continued to work, paid one day a week, as Community Liaison and Service Development coordinator for the Northampton Jesus Centre until 2010. My time was split between organising new services and assisting those running existing services, creating and administering a feedback system for measuring achievements by the centre including outputs (food given, lessons taught etc), hard outcomes (job found, accommodation found etc) and soft outcomes (new skills learned etc), and liaising with the charity sector in Northampton.

With community fading and virtually gone (except for the scrambling of the remnants of the cult to move properties into a new trust to avoid compensating those harmed by the cult) the funding for the centres has now dried up. The landlord of the Birmingham Jesus Centre has recently kicked them out due to not wanting to be associated with an abusive cult. Looks like the Northampton Jesus Centre, formerly the deco, is now fading too.

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