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THE OPEN HOUSE PROJECT
is a new charity, set up at the beginning of 2005 to take on and develop the work of "The House", a project that has been run for the last three and a half years by Royston Area Community Church (RACC). In December 1999 RACC opened The Millennium Café as a short term Millennium project. The number of young people using the café in the evenings clearly showed the need for a Youth Drop-in Centre and sparked the plans for a long-term venture. In 2001 "The House" was born; managed by Andy and Viv Williams, and manned by a dedicated team of volunteers from various churches in Royston.

"The House" caters for young people aged between 12 and 18, and gives them a safe alternative to roaming the streets. "The House" maintains a no smoking, no drugs and no alcohol policy on the premises, and aims to use relationships to influence behaviour outside. On an average Drop-In evening we see around fifty young people, who come to chill out with friends, play pool or air hockey or use the games machines. Periodically we have karaoke sessions, or get people painting. We are looking into various projects to engage young people in positive interests and hobbies.

Many of the young people we meet are in stable families, but as we get to know them better, we find some who are facing quite serious issues, such as homelessness, self harm, alcohol dependency and drug misuse. Volunteers at "The House" are able to offer friendship, prayer or advice where they see a need, or refer to other agencies that can help.

We see the potential for The Open House Project to build on the strengths of "The House", and develop it further to make an even greater impact in our community, particularly in areas of concern in relation to young people, such as alcohol and drugs misuse, teenage pregnancy, debt, employment etc. We are looking forward to seeing how God will build the team to accomplish this, and will be opening up opportunities for our volunteers to take up training so that we can provide much needed services. In some instances we will be looking to work with other agencies.

Andy and Viv feel that the time is right to start a church in this community of young people. We want to cater for their spiritual needs as well as their physical requirements. We intend to begin an expression of church within "The House", allowing those who are interested to explore Christianity, encouraging a personal relationship with Jesus, facilitating relevant worship, prayer and support of each other.

The Open House Project, registered charity number 1107677, ( working name: The House) came into being on 18th January 2005. On March 1st the new board of Trustees :- Andy and Viv Williams, Colin Boyd, Jane Askew and Neil Harris took on the responsibility for running "The House."

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