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Blog #42 - 1 Year On

It has now been (if I have done my maths correctly) 3 weeks and 4 days since we published our last blog, which would make it not only before New Year, but also before Christmas. So, let me start by saying we hope you had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year! Can we still say that? I always have debates with others every year about when do you stop saying Happy New Year? In my head, if it is the first time of seeing someone since New Year, and it’s still January, then it’s fine! If you’re still saying Happy New Year in February, then I feel that’s probably a bit too much… Others may disagree, but that’s my opinion.

Darren, what do you think?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Well with the way the UK is at the moment I am not sure there is anything ‘happy’ about it, so far. Apart from a certain birthday (hint, hint). I keep checking the post to see if we have cards but alas, we don’t! In any normal new year, I would agree with you and say that as long as it’s January its ok. Come February New Year celebrations are but a distant memory.

Now, you have probably worked this out already, but it’s another joint blog! So, if you’re reading something in this font, it’s me, Antony.

And in this font, it’s Darren.

Not only is it a joint blog today, but for us it’s a very special and exciting one, because this week marks 1 year of Catalyst Youth UK! Can you believe it? We’ve been doing this crazy movement for 1 whole year. A whole year (or nearly for some) of blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos, 108 in 2020, and although it’s been a strange year, for us it’s been amazing to do these things and (hopefully) reach a few of you in the long run.

We’ve had so many moments throughout which we have loved, as well as times where we have felt the pressure and the stress, but not one bit of it would I have changed because this has not only given Darren and I the opportunity to work together more, but also the opportunity to reach so many more people across the South of the UK, the whole of the UK and even, at times, people across the world in places such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and more.

Now, we could spend this blog talking about our favourite moments, the times we felt stressed or the pressure, however, we don’t want to do that because you can hear all about it on our Podcast this week (Catalyst Happy Hour(ish) on Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Podcast & Google Play), as well as a special YouTube video version (Catalyst Youth UK on YouTube)!

Instead, I think we should focus on what has been unexpected. Darren, I want to start by asking you, what has been your most unexpected or surprising moment from being part of Catalyst Youth UK this year?

What a great question. I think, for ‘unexpected’ it’s got to be that we can work together so well! I mean, usually it’s just over the summer period and then a meet up or two throughout the rest of the year. We are both big characters and I know this can clash but we have the same energy and have clicked throughout the last year just as we do on camp. We have achieved so much over the last year, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds (I know how much Antony loves numbers! - Thanks!).

Looking back over the 108 different media ‘things’ we have done, we have achieved so much. Much more than I could ever have expected. Just looking at our YouTube videos and how “stiff” we look in the beginning, but now we are much more relaxed, and they seem to naturally flow for us. This week we got our first comment on our podcast. Not sure how you comment but, we got one.

“Brilliant! You guys are so natural and fun.”

That for me is exactly how I want us to be. We are just 2 guys doing a job we love, and for me, not sure about you, Antony. I have loved it all (Including the stress). I agree!

Another thing I did not expect is the number of views we have got on all our videos for camp. I know because we worked it out late one night and in total over that week we managed to have over 700 views. Now we know not all these views will be unique but if just one of them takes the message we delivered to heart and puts it into practice we have done our job.

I just want to say, Antony, its been a honour and a pleasure to work alongside you over the whole of the last year. I raise my glass to you and say “may it long continue” (You're making me blush!... But I agree. Cheers!) and to the youth involved in Catalyst Youth UK. I say may God guide and bless every one of you.

For me, the most unexpected part I think has to come from the vast area which we have reached, and the way we have done it. Before the lockdowns happened in 2020, I don’t think anything like doing a podcast would have crossed our minds. Maybe a blog would have, but probably not until a lot later, but without these I don’t think we would have reached as many people as we’ve been able in such a short amount of time as a year. Camp wouldn’t have been online, and so therefore would have only included those signed up etc. But more than it being unexpected those we have reached, is those that have supported us! People wanting to put in time to help Catalyst run smoothly has been outstanding, and then we have those unexpected people that come back and say ‘yes, we’d love to be a part of it’.

25th September 2020, a video was uploaded to our YouTube and Facebook with a special message from the band, ‘The Abrams’. Darren and I love this duo, and the fact that they not only responded to our message telling them what we do, but even took time out to record a message is outstanding! I am still shocked every time I look at that video that they actually took time out for us!

It has been a pleasure to build up Catalyst Youth UK and we want to say a huge thank you to all of you that have been with us along the way! We’re so excited to see what the future holds, and we hope you’ll continue to follow us in all that we do. Ditto.

I have no idea what 2021 will chuck at us or you, but I do know one thing. Catalyst Youth UK will be there for you, with us two nut jobs, at the helm trying to steer. This is a movement for the youth we serve and underpinned by the God we love.

Keep safe, stay blessed

Antony & Darren.

This week’s resource…

Video: 1 Year On

Can be found: Catalyst Youth UK YouTube Channel -

About: A video celebrating 1 year of Catalyst Youth UK!

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