ICIS, (In Christ In Schools) is a Christian schools work charity established in Mansfield over 30 years ago.
ICIS was originally formed by the umbrella organisation Mansfield Churches Together to help schools present the message of the Christian faith in a way that children and young people can relate to and understand. The charity helps schools by taking assemblies, lessons and clubs and provides teacher support and extra events, fulfilling a need in schools to provide Christian teaching and input for pupils.
In 1982 ICIS employed their first full-time schools worker, Malc Haliday. He was based at the new Christian Bookshop on Newgate lane. Malc visited the middle and secondary schools, building relationships between ICIS and the local schools.
The demand for ICIS grew steadily so the trust employed another part time worker who worked in the primary schools. Nick Harding was appointed a few years later with Margi Steiner and Tom Pickering.
During this phase, the ICIS ‘base’ moved from the bookshop and in to Nick’s house.
In 1993 Rob Herd joined the team and became the Schools Worker, Rob visited the schools with a mix of talks, magic tricks and messy games.
The trust at this time worked in up to 22 schools around the Mansfield and Ashfield districts. The trust also grew in its reputation with schools in the high quality of the work provided.
The team changed and the office moved to Rob’s home church in Bosworth Street, previous team members had moved on so Glenys Holloway joined to work in the Primary schools.
For nine consecutive years Rob organised the “spotlight weekends”. This involved taking around 120 young people away for the weekend. Various youth hostels were use around Derbyshire.
Genys stayed until 1996 when Karen Blasdale joined to take on the Primary schools, aided by Sue Povey. Gary Bradshaw-Mays joined in 1999 Gary was pivotal in starting the next phase of our work., Venue 3-16 2002 saw a director appointed to develop the work of the trust, with so many opportunities and new projects including a youth and community centre in Mansfield Town centre.
The old snooker hall in bridge street was rented and turned in to “Venue 3-16”.
This operated for a number of years as an alcohol-free bar. The venue was used by young people on their way home from school, a place to meet others and do their homework. At the weekends there were concerts by visiting bands.
Although the Venue became a major thrust in the work of ICIS, the schools were never neglected. Venue 3-16 became a catalyst for many young people. The fact that it didn’t belong to any one church meant that young people from lots of different churches could meet there and form relationships outside of any denominational boundaries.
After running the venue for a few years, the trust decided to focus on the core activity, schools work. Several new ideas were been adopted as ICIS continued to grow. The secondary school work has grown with the trust developing RE and PHSE lessons on a range of subjects. In addition to these outside theatre and music groups have also been offered to schools to find other creative ways of teaching RE and allowing young people to consider and understand the Christian faith.
In 2003 the trust also set up a training scheme for young people to be trained as youth and Children workers. This was for either a gap year of service or an introduction to for people considering God’s calling in this ministry. 8 young people between the age of 17 and 24 have been trained so far with 4 of those going on to take on employed positions in youth and children’s work with local churches. In 2005 Venue 3-16 closed when the funding ended.
We came full circle in 2007 when we started to rent some rooms above the Christian bookshop. This allows the team space to plan, practice and store their work. There’s a store room to keep puppets, flip charts and all manner of costumes.