Act 4 in Action

an update - Christmas 2016

Thoughts from Sam

I have missed Autumns in the UK, having been in Canada for the last two years, however it is good to be back and to have the chance to support Act 4 more directly on the next stage of its journey.

This year is going to be a defining year for the charity. We have had such a fantastic opportunity to develop our work for more than 10 years now and this has given us the chance to work with over 70,000 children. However, if we want to keep going and do what we have been doing, with assembly presentations in particular, then we need to find a more sustainable operational model.

Accommodation is one of our biggest challenges and although we have had wonderful support from local people who have housed our volunteers over the years, each year finding somewhere for them to stay gets harder. Also, some significant grants that have supported the work over the last three years have now run out and so we need to give ourselves the time to re-assess and to explore and examine new ways of working.

This year is our chance to do that.

Thoughts and Prayers with Nick Brindley and his family

This newsletter must of course begin by saying that our thoughts and prayers are very much with Nick Brindley and his family. Nick, one of our trustees and Minister of Potters Bar and Brookmans Park URC fell seriously ill a few weeks ago. Nick has been very involved in framing the plans for Act 4's work this year and we will miss his attention to detail over the coming months. We pray for his recovery.

Ways YOU can get involved or find out more

Supporters Meeting: This meeting will give people a chance to hear about the exciting ideas that we are working with, but also to engage with some of the challenges that the charity faces. We want to hear your views as we gather a sense of Act 4's ongoing role for the community. This will be held at the URC in Darkes Lane on Wednesday 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm.

Please RSVP to Sam S as soon as possible either by telephone 01707 665551 or email:

Quiz and Chat: Later in the year we will be running 3 (or more), church based quiz events, as a chance to share and engage with community members about the role of Act 4. We would like these quizzes to take place in March, late April and May. If you are interested in your church hosting an event - please get in touch.

Even if it is not possible to attend either of the above, your views are still extremely valuable and we would like to invite you to share any thoughts or ideas you may have about our work by either e-mailing on the above address or by contacting Sam Frankel on Alternatively, please feel free to telephone our office on 01707 665551.

What do children learn from our Workshops?

It is always extremely important and rewarding to receive comments and feedback on our programmes ('R' Rights and Moving On) from the children's point of view. Therefore, at the end of every workshop, we hand out an evaluation sheet for every child to share their own personal comments.

In mid October, we visited St. Johns Prep School to deliver an 'R' Rights workshop. One of the questions we ask on the sheet is: 'What do you feel you learnt as a result of 'R' Rights?' Here are a few of the replies:

"I think I have learnt we are very privileged and we should appreciate things more".

"That we should respect others because we are lucky".

"That even though humans should have rights to be free, so many people still do not have any".

"I learnt that some children in different countries have more difficult responsibilities than we realise and they need our help".

We have also been busy at a new school, Goffs Oak Primary School where we had the chance to meet new Year 6 children as they took part in an 'R' Rights workshop.

We are so pleased that many schools continue enjoying our workshops and would like to thank them for the support they give us with these each year. We are looking forward to delivering the Moving On workshops booked in the diary, which will take part for Year 6 children in the Summer Term.

If you are interested in having a workshop at your school or community group - please let us know.

Some thoughts on a Slum

We came across these written thoughts from a group who, as part of the 'R'Rights Workshop, were thinking about children's experiences of living in a slum. These questions seemed to capture the wider curiosity and desire for understanding that the children expressed.

What is it like living in a slum?

What do you do in the slum?

Where do you go during the day?

Do you have food everyday?

Do you work?

What does the slum smell like?

How many people in your family?

How many rooms do you have?

Special Offer on Workshops

We have had a busy start to the year, talking to schools about the special offer we have on our 2 workshops - 'R' Rights and Moving On. These programmes are at a reduced rate of £250.00. So far, this opportunity has proved to be really popular, with many schools already booked in the diary for 2017!

If you know a school or youth group that might benefit please get in touch with Sam Smith at or feel free to telephone the office on 01707 665551.

'R' Rights is an interactive workshop designed to inform children about their rights and responsibilities. Using themes such as refugees, child labor, war, poverty, education etc, 'R' Rights invites children to consider what skills they have to make a difference. Linked to a range of practical tasks children not only grow in awareness of the issues that impact some children but also of the skills they have to do something about it.

Moving On is a workshop especially for children of Year 6. Its main aim is to help the children's work through their worries and anxieties about leaving their primary school. We spend the day working on group tasks that focus on their hopes and thoughts that they have as they move on to secondary school.

Act 4 Choir Event

Darkes Fayre this year, took place on Saturday 26th November with 'Africa' as its theme. The proceeds of the Fayre helped towards supporting the construction of a new church building in Katombora, a small community in Zambia.

Families and friends from two of our local schools, Pope Paul and Oakmere watched proudly as they were treated to an afternoon of African and festive songs. Pope Paul were on first with two African songs, accompanied by drums and then Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. After a short break Oakmere entertained us with a choreographed dance routine and three very festive Christmas songs.

The children taking part ranged from 7 to 10 years old. They all were incredibly talented and we had many comments from supporters who came to watch them, remarking on how much they enjoyed watching the children seemingly getting into the spirit of Christmas.

Tony Corfe, on behalf of Potters Bar URC, thanked Act 4 for organising the Choir Event and we were delighted on how well the children were familiar with Act 4 from visiting their schools. Certificates of Commitment and an Award were given to each of the schools at the presentation to remind them of how important their part in the event had been.

Our thanks go to Head Teacher, Liz Heymoz from Pope Paul and Teaching Assistant, Lynda Buckley, from Oakmere, for the time and dedication given to encouraging the children in their obvious love of singing.

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The Choir Event - Words from some of the Children

Some of the children from Pope Paul School wrote about their experiences of taking part in the Darkes Fayre Choir Event. It is great to see how much they enjoyed being part of the event. We hope you enjoy reading their views...

“We had a great time. We love to sing to other people. It was very enjoyable and we like to raise money for the people in Zambia. Everyone enjoyed our singing and drumming. We learn the Djembe drums each week at school. I love dancing to the music” Maria - Year 4

“ This was the first time that we have raised money for people living in Zambia. It was fun especially when we sang with the drums. There were lots of stalls and things to win. It was fun! I love singing in the choir especially Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. ” Evie - Year 3

We also had some lovely messages from the children of Oakmere School...

"Thank you for inviting us to sing at Darkes Fayre, I really enjoyed singing in front of loads and loads of people"

"I felt so excited to sing to the crowd. I loved all the songs. I hope that everyone loved it. I really liked the Certificate. I hope we can do it next year too. Thank you Act 4".

"I felt really brave on the 26th November singing to all the people. Pope Paul was brilliant and so was Oakmere. It was really fun looking at our brothers, sisters and mum. On Monday at school we got a certificate! We also won a trophy. It was a fantastic day. Well done Oakmere Choir!"

A Reflection by Sam Smith

A few months ago, I came across a reflection that seemed to have such a powerful and inspiring message for children, I wanted to share it with others. I hope you enjoy it.

You Are Special

In all the world there is nobody like you.

Since the beginning of time there has never been another person like you. Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair. Nobody has your handwriting or your voice.

You're Special.

There has never been anyone who laughs in exactly your way. You're Special. You're different to any other person who has ever lived in the Universe. You are the only one in all creation who has your set of abilities.

Through all eternity no one will ever walk, talk, think or do exactly like you. You're Special. The need for you to imitate anyone else is absolutely wrong. You're Special and that is no accident. So realise God has made you for a special purpose. He has a job for you to do, that nobody else can do as well as you can. Out of the billions of applicants only one is qualified. Only one has the unique and right combinations of what it takes. And that one is YOU.

What a Success, What an Achievement!

Throughout the academic year, 2015-2016, our volunteers, Anna and Rabea had lots of fun meeting children, getting to know our local churches and also our supporters through all sorts of events and activities. It was a very busy year for the team and seemed to fly by.

This list of achievements included delivering 106 themed assemblies, a total of 7 Moving On and 'R' Rights programmes, 3 Holiday Clubs, plus many Church Services, Youth Clubs and Messy Church sessions.

In total, over 4,533 children, over 250 supporters and many others across Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Shrewsbury were touched in some way by the Act 4 charity.

Thank you. YOU were part of this! These figures could not have been achieved without the support of our schools, churches and loyal supporters.

Coming up Next Term

  • Nikki returns in January - just in time for the start of the Spring Term 2017.
  • Supporters Meeting - Wednesday 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm at URC, Darkes Lane. Everybody welcome to attend.
  • Website Review - please continue to visit, use and comment on our web page.
  • 3 Church Quiz Events - watch out for further details on dates etc.

We are looking for accommodation for our volunteers!

Are you willing to open your home to an Act 4 volunteer and to provide a room for any period of time up to 11 months?

If so, we would really love to hear from you!

By providing a safe and relaxing environment for these independent young people to live, you will not only be supporting the exciting work of Act 4, but will also have the opportunity to build a friendship with talented, hard working and inspirational young people.

To find out more, please contact Sam Smith on 01707 665551 or by email on

Regular Givers

We must increase our regular givers; if you can support us in this way, please let us know.

Volunteer Drivers

We need drivers to help transport the team to local schools.

Become a Trustee

Get involved in the strategic direction of the charity.

Gift in Will

To find out more about supporting us in this way please request a brochure.