Cressex is a suburb of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire with a high concentration of minority ethnic groups. It is one of the most deprived areas in Buckinghamshire with a diverse population and also covers an area of high crime.
The core team of Lighthouse Cressex were also the originators of Lighthouse High Wycombe. But we recognised that we wanted to work closer to our own community and churches and also bring in more children from a more deprived area as only 60 children from the area were previously attending Lighthouse. We also wanted to have a new more cost effective way of delivering Lighthouse as we knew we would not get the necessary funds in our area. So we developed a school based model, still with all the fun and structure of Lighthouse but at an aim of one third the cost. This for a deprived area is key to make it sustainable. We launched in 2012 at Cressex School which was the last school built under the Labour Party. One of our aims was to help the school project a new image as it was poorly regarded in the community. We have added lots of positives to the school such as bringing in 100s of parents to see the school and when it received a good in the Ofsted ratings we were pleased to have played a part in how the community saw the school being improved. We always sadly have more children apply than we can take and have a team of helpers that has developed with us. We have one leader focused on the children and managing the teaching across the site and we have one leader totally focused on the helpers and keeping them motivated and helping them develop throughout the week. We have added some new dimensions- we get the age 10s to go and visit and perform at a local care home once in the week. We give the children a gift every year such as a treasure box, a book or this year a shoe bag. We see this as a way of taking Lighthouse home for the whole year. We also buy some good craft material to ensure we give the best quality of goods to children. Our whole work is based on prayer and for 8 weeks before Lighthouse the management team fast and pray for one day a week on challenges we face. As a full team we only meet 3 times in the year as we give a lot of freedom to each AGL to develop their own approaches within the overall framework.