During the summer parts of Britain were rocked by dispiriting scenes of street violence. All was not doom and gloom however, and British YFC published this Press Release:

“As a wave of sporadic civil unrest, violence, arson and looting perpetuated by mostly young people swept the UK this week, it would’ve been easy to deem all British young people anti-social, criminal thugs. Incredibly though, as Christians prayed YFC Centres and young people came together to clean the streets in the aftermath and give food, clothes and support to those who have lost homes, possessions or loved ones in their communities.

In the face of rising unrest, wanton destruction and criminality many young people are making a positive difference by helping galvanise and even lead clean-up operations across the country. Youth for Christ Local Centres in affected areas are helping to coordinate young people’s efforts and as they do, are testifying to their remarkable can-do attitude, enthusiasm and energy. The following are only 2 instances out of many but serve as good illustrations.

In London, Croydon YFC has been giving food and clothes to victims who have had to flee their homes because of the fires. Centre Director Naomi George says, “Even though on Monday night pictures shown on the news were of young people looting, setting fires and vandalising, it is the complete opposite picture that is being lived out by young people off camera. Young people in Croydon have been out in force clearing the mess off the streets, making muffins and cookies for the emergency service staff and visiting people in their communities. We have had a steady stream of young people coming to donate their stuff for those families that have lost it all as well as some volunteering to sort through the bags and petition for more donations to be made. It has been excellent to see young people in Croydon make such a positive impact on their community.”

In another example Quinton YFC, National YFC staff and lots of young people went into Birmingham City centre on the 9th of August and cleaned shops, swept up debris and prayed with affected shopkeepers.

While it has been reported that gangs used social networking sites and mobile technology to communicate and organise riots, some of the very same technology is now being utilised positively by young people in order to coordinate and mobilise support for clean-up efforts. #prayforlondon and #riotcleanup are both currently trending on Twitter.

Gavin Calver, YFC National Director, says, “It is so important to acknowledge the incredible impact these young people are having on their local communities. As Youth for Christ, we are proud to see so many young people passionately living for Christ and praying, serving and supporting those affected by the riots in British Cities.”