Refresh 2012: Hope and blessing in Weymouth
Published 09 August 2012 | Lizzy Millar, 2K Plus
What did you do during the Olympics? London teenagers Juliet Radmall and Hannah Taylor said they felt inspired to join a group of Christian volunteers in Dorset.
Juliet, 17, said she “just wanted to do something different for the Olympics” so persuaded her best friend Hannah to join the Weymouth and Portland Church’s Refresh 2012 team.
Refresh 2012 has been set up by churches in Weymouth and Portland, the site of the sailing events in the Olympic Games. The aim has been to provide activities for all the family as well as youth events to attract more people to the church.
The Refresh teams have also set up bedouin-style tents along the coast, offering a quiet zone for visitors to receive free hand and foot massages. In addition, they have been running Christian outreach groups whereby volunteers chat to local youth and invite them to sports and social activities.
Juliet said: “We just want to bless the people of Weymouth whether that’s through befriending, praying or playing sports.”
Juliet’s friend Hannah, 19, said that by massaging people’s feet she felt she had a captive audience.
“It’s a great way to chat to people and ask them what they believe so you too can share your beliefs,” she said.
One of their fellow-volunteers is Ben Moss who often sits with teenagers who gather at an open space opposite the seafront.
Ben, 20, says: “We just want to be a positive influence on the young people and to find out what’s going on in their lives.”
Asked if any of the teenagers had felt inspired by the Games, Ben said many of them ‘were not interested’ and had found the sailing tournament ‘disruptive’.
I asked the group of teenagers sitting with Ben if they had been impressed by the London Olympic motto that is ‘Inspire a Generation’ but was met with a resounding ‘no’.
It transpired none of them had bothered to visit a free sports zone that had been set up on the beach to enable visitors to try out different sports such as sailing, golf and rowing for free. The venture had been set up by the councils of Weymouth and Portland.
In spite of the town experiencing a slump in visitors during the sailing and even witnessing a festival on the beach shut-up shop after going bust on the day the races began – the Refresh team is adamant that there are plenty of blessings to be had in this seaside resort.
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