It’s my turn to talk about what has been happening recently, so I thought I’d fill you all in on developments at Holding Nothing Back. It’s been an exciting few months, and there’s more in store this term.

At the end of last term, we had a Christmas party. It was great fun – we had a photo booth, an appearance from Father Christmas, some old school party games and plenty of jelly and ice cream! Our parties are a fantastic chance for the groups from Hitchin Girls, Hitchin Boys and the Priory schools to get together.

We have been trying a new format for our material recently, too – we begin with a fun video related to the topic, do an activity together and then finish with a video from the series we are using and a discussion and challenge related to it.

We are currently busy planning for our first HNB Xtra event – an idea suggested by one of our first Phase Champions (watch this space for more on the Phase Ambassador programme). Like the parties, it is an opportunity for the three HNB groups to get together – but for the Xtra events, the focus will be on a ‘big issue’. This gives us the opportunity to dig deeper into some of the big questions in life than we wouldn't ordinarily get in a lunch time group, and the young people suggest the topics relevant to them.

One of the most exciting developments for us recently though, is that the Holding Nothing Back group at the boys school has reopened!

But that’s enough from me. I decided that the best people to tell you about Holding Nothing Back are the young people who go – so I’ve been working with one of our Phase Ambassadors, Molly, to ask the Girls School group what they think of Holding Nothing Back. This is what they had to say.

If you had to describe Holding Nothing Back to someone who had never heard of it, what
would you say?

We would say that HNB is a lunch time group where students from different year groups come together each week to explore faith through sharing lunch together, watching videos and having discussion. We get the opportunity to think about things that we wouldn’t normally consider talking about at school. Some of us like to refer to our HGS group as ‘God squad’!

Why do you come to Holding Nothing Back? What difference does it make to you?

We go to HNB as it’s a safe place and it makes a break from the busy and stressful day at school - we can go and feel accepted, and explore our opinions as supposed to just facts. When we go to HNB, we have the opportunity to spend time with students from other year groups and form friendships. These are friends that we may not see in our average day at school. It's nice because we can talk about things that aren't often spoken about. One group member described it as ‘deep conversation and good banter’!

Why do you think that there is a need for Holding Nothing Back at your school?

We believe that HNB fills a gap at school because it is the only place that we can talk openly about our faith and beliefs outside of philosophy and ethics lessons. It’s a reminder in the week to us of our faith as we are now focussing on it not just on Sundays. Holding Nothing Back has also become a midweek opportunity for us to connect and check in with the Phase guys and our friends, it is such a lovely and needed break in our day and week.

What is the best thing about coming to Holding Nothing Back?

We came up with a few best bits of HNB and they are: our Parties and special events, our friendships and, as always, biscuits!

So, do you go to one of the three Hitchin senior schools? Are you interested in getting involved in Holding Nothing Back? Bring your lunch and your friends – you are welcome.

Hitchin Girls School – Tuesday lunch times in the Learning Leaders Room
The Priory School – Wednesday lunch times in A14
Hitchin Boys School – Thursday lunch times in the Woodlands Conference Room
HNB Xtra – 6th Feb. Watch this space!