Who we are
Wings was set up in 2000 in response to a request from a group of young people for somewhere to hang out in Bideford. They had attended Soul Survivor, a Christian Music Festival, and wanted something like the Cyber Cafe they had seen there. After some initial consultation and a search for suitable premises, the Salvation Army Hall was purchased through a private donation and renovated to form the present Wings Hall. The Cyber Cafe (Source) opened in 2002 and the work has expanded since then as we began to meet young people and understand some of their difficulties and their aspirations.
For many young people the reality of living in rural Devon is not the idyllic lifestyle often portrayed of thatched cottages, beautiful coastlines and cream teas. The economic uncertainties continue to undermine those who are most vulnerable, particularly in geographic areas that are already struggling. Torridge now has the second lowest average earnings in the UK and is one of the most deprived areas. With underlying low productivity and relatively few job opportunities, the future prospects look bleak, particularly for many of the young people we work with.
We now operate a multifaceted approach to working with disadvantaged children, young people and adults including running leisure activities (eg sports and surfing), alternative curriculum activities with those struggling at school (eg digital music, video and animation) and various programmes (eg conservation projects and motor mechanics) with those who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), young offenders, those excluded from school, young parents, long term unemployed and people with learning and physical disabilities.
CEO & Co-Founder
Jo Sawle - Chair
Anne Bowser - Safeguarding trustee & Co-Founder
Wings is a Christian based organisation. The Founders and Trustees believe that God loves everyone equally and so we want to express that by serving and trying to help anyone who comes into contact with Wings; in any way we can.
Since its formation in 2000 the charity has operated a transparent parallel lines policy that has found favour with individuals, charities, organisations and statutory bodies – where someone does not expect us to share our faith, we will not do so: where individuals choose to explore faith, perhaps via small groups or at camps, we will do so sensitively and creatively; never proselytising. We will only ever use funds specifically designated for faith exploration for that purpose.