PSALMS: Centre of Excellence

PSALMS is having a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people throughout Gloucestershire and has been recognised by Professor Andrew Parker at the University of Gloucestershire and Scripture Union as the first Centre of Excellence in the UK for its exciting new concept of Sports Ministry.

PSALMS (Putting Sport alongside Local Ministries) was established in 2005 to support and encourage local churches of all Christian denominations in reaching out to their communities through sport. We use sport to engage with young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds in rural or semi-rural areas. Although Christian-based, PSALMS work with young people of all faiths and none.

In 2016, the success of PSALMS led to a three-way partnership being formed between the charity, the Scripture Union and the Diocese of Gloucester. The aim is to develop models of sports ministry that could be replicated throughout the UK. Many of its programmes are monitored and evaluated with the learnings set to be shared throughout the country.

The generous funding we continue to receive, enables sports specialists to assist with and run youth clubs, sports sessions and other activities, often working with local schools, youth clubs, churches and town councils. A team of eight Sports Ministers currently works with PSALMS, equipping young people with new skills and empowering them to use them, increasing their confidence and encouraging them to take pride in their achievements and be positive role models.

James Laing, Director of Grants and Relationships at Allchurches Trust, said: “This innovative project is reaching out to some of the most vulnerable young people through sport, channelling their energy into activities that boost their physical and mental health and wellbeing and encouraging them to be a force for good within their communities. We’re delighted to be able to support it, and look forward to sharing the learning so that churches and communities throughout the UK can follow in their footsteps.”

Chair of PSALMS, Canon Ian Marsh, said: “It has been so exciting to see many young people, most of whom have previously had no experience of traditional church, enjoying the opportunities that Sports Ministry affords for fun, competitiveness, relationship building and learning about the Christian faith.”