Learn from MoveIn: how you can transform your ‘patch’ in Croydon


By - Monday 14th March, 2016

Jonny Rose presents a lesson in local activism courtesy of Christian organisation MoveIn


Learning to MoveIn

I recently stumbled upon the work of Nigel Paul, the Canadian founder of MoveIn – a Christian organisation that seeks to enable “thousands of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor globally”.

MoveIn’s work sees Christians eschewing the comforts of middle-class life and moving their families to the hardest, most dangerous city neighbourhoods in England, Mexico, Germany, Sweden, the Philippines and North America. There, they intentionally get involved in the community, developing relationships and serving the most pressing needs. You can hear more about Nigel’s work and aims here.

Ask yourself: what can you do in your 500x500m patch of Croydon?

Key to MoveIn’s methodology is the idea of each person taking ownership of a “patch” in their immediate area. A patch constitutes of a 500x500m plot – and it’s there that MoveIn-ers start their work.

It’s not about parachuting in with tracts and Bible verses and then leaving. It’s about living among the people we’re trying to reach and loving them every day in practical ways.

MoveIn encourages natural relationship building that comes from simply living everyday life in these patches, rather than the creation of resource-intensive programmes. It encourages meeting people in laundry rooms, lifts and lobbies. It encourages spending time with them by drinking tea with them in their living rooms, holding community meals, kicking around a football with neighbourhood kids after school.

Some MoveIn teams hold more organised programmes and activities, such as summer day camps for kids in their apartment building, EFL (English as a Foreign Language) lessons and more, and these bring wonderful relationship connections too. The stories coming out of the MoveIn initiative are bold, varied and fruitful.

More importantly, they’re very replicable here in Croydon.

‘MoveIn’ to your patch in Croydon

Whether you are a Christian or not, the principles of MoveIn very much apply to anyone with an interest in effecting positive tangible change in Croydon.

Perhaps the idea of transforming the whole of Croydon is too big and unwieldy, but you – as in an individual – can definitely transform a patch.

In your patch, for example, you could:

The example shown by Nigel Paul and the hundreds participating in MoveIn show what can be done by individuals and small groups of people that are prepared to take a small (or, in many cases, very large!) hit to their personal comfort and start actually doing stuff in and for their local communities.

Too often we are quick to look to other agencies and people to solve the problems we have in Croydon. However, the solutions to these problems aren’t ultimately found in the government, police, or schools – the solutions lie with us.

We need to become better citizens – caring for the people around us. Not just in thought and in word, but in deed, too.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • lizsheppardjourno

    Whatever people’s motives, I wholeheartedly applaud this. Croydon is so segmented and many (most?) of those attempting to solve the problems of its more deprived areas live in entirely different environments. When we live around people who are different from us, we identify a little more and condemn a little less.

    Based in West Croydon for the last five years, I’ve never recognised the ‘alienated neighbourhoods’ experience: mine were welcoming when I arrived and our flats and street are friendly (50/50 owner-occupied/rented). I regularly greet many neighbours and when I dropped my keys in the street they were picked up and left on my gatepost. OK – a month ago I had my numberplates stolen in the night…. but that happens in Sanderstead too.

    Anything that makes us less ghetto-ised, less ‘us and them’: let’s do it. Live together: above all – let our children be educated together. We should all be the changes we want to see.