Legacy is the youth outreach of St Georges Church in the local community. Matt Rose, was one of the first teenagers to join Legacy and after completing his divinity degree became the Legacy Youth Pastor in 2012. Matt oversees all Legacy activities and with Luke Cooper leads the cell groups, the Legacy youth congregation and Evolve (the group for young adults). Matt reports to Revd Pete Hillman, the Legacy Director of Ministry, and to the other Legacy trustees.
Legacy began in March 2001 when St George’s Church was asked to sponsor a visit of the Bar N Bus team into The Appleton School and provide follow up to the visit. After the visit activities were arranged in the church community hall for Secondary School pupils and a youth congregation developed. In 2003 teenage members of Legacy became challenged about younger children in the community and Legacy Junior was formed with activities on a separate evening. In 2004 Cafe Legacy for teenagers started to be run once a month in the church hall.
Two of the Legacy leaders had a vision for a purpose built facility to engage with young people in the community. A Skate Park and Youth Centre was designed, funds were raised and the Legacy XS Centre was constructed in Richmond Park, Benfleet. The Centre was opened in March 2005 with a 4,500 sq ft indoor skate park and first floor cafe. The cost of construction and equipment was £547,000. The aim was to build relationships with BMX riders and Skateboarders which were the popular extreme sports at the time. Cafe Legacy and Legacy Junior were transferred to the Centre and still operate.
As interests among children and young people have changed so Legacy XS has been developed to meet new challenges. Major additions were the construction in 2007 of an outside skatepark of 5,500 sq ft at a cost of £84,000: the creation in 2007 of an Arts Suite on the first floor and the installation on the ground floor of a lounge and kitchen at a cost of £16,000: a mezzanine floor in the indoor skatepark and shower room were installed in 2011 at a cost of £16,000 and also in 2011 a Multi User Games Area was constructed at the rear of the Centre at a cost of £54,000. The equipment that Legacy XS uses in its youth work includes a mobile youth centre and inflatable equipment. Users of the Centre pay membership and session fees and the work of Legacy is supported by regular donations from 24 members of St George’s Church.
In the first nine years more than £1m of facilities and services have been provided for the children and young people of Castle Point. During this time over 9,000 have used the Legacy XS Centre. These have included BMX riders, Skateboarders, Scooter riders, Inline Skaters, Dancers, Gamers and others who have come to enjoy relaxing with friends. More that 100 students in danger of exclusion from secondary schools who attended the Legacy Behaviour for Learning course, which ran for three years, were retained in education. A strong relationship has developed with The Appleton School. Three of the Legacy XS trustees, Revd Peter Hillman (Chair of Governors) Revd Anthony Rose (Vicar of St George’s Church) and Matt Rose (Legacy Youth Pastor) take assemblies and mentor students at The Appleton School.
Children from 8 years old to young adults attend the Centre. The Legacy youth workers and volunteers have built relationships with the users of the Centre and over the years many have been attracted to the worship gatherings and cell groups. The cell groups are held weekly from Tuesdays to Thursdays catering separately for BMX riders, Skateboarders, Scooter riders and Inline Skaters and is where relationships are deepened, the Christian faith taught and explored.
In 2009 Legacy XS was invited to join a partnership with Essex County Council, Castle Point Borough Council and Canvey Island Town Council to create a Drop In Cafe for teenagers in the bungalow which is adjacent to the skate park at Waterside Farm, Canvey Island. The Cafe was successfully operated from Wednesdays to Sundays for 5 years. The Cafe now operates at weekends only until additional funding for salaries can be raised.