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Winter Newsletter January 2018

Anti-Poverty Network

The city’s anti-poverty network is a longstanding organisation, pre-dating Love Southampton. It meets regularly to update on the impact of deprivation in the city. Front-line agencies meet to share latest updates on poverty issues. The group is ably supported by Annette Davis from SCRATCH. Other faith-based organisations involved are Southampton City Mission, CLEAR, Oasis and Christians Against Poverty. Current issues have included the impact of universal credit on people in Southampton.

Safe Families for Children

Safe Families honoured with top care services award

Safe Families works with 28 local authorities across England to support vulnerable families and reduce the flow of children into the care system. A panel of social care experts judged the award and said: "It is a social movement that is innovative, and changes not only practices but also lives."

"We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award! It's a real tribute to the impact our volunteers have helping vulnerable families in their community. Safe Families is a community-based solution to a community-based problem. It's bringing communities back to a culture of people helping people." - Keith Danby, chief executive at Safe Families

Locally, Safe Families have been working in Southampton since October 2016 and it has been a wonderful time of building relationships with Southampton City Council, church and community groups, volunteers and, most importantly, families across the city. Our volunteers have already made such an enormous difference. In Southampton alone, they have been friends to over 72 families, have helped around 200 children and they have hosted children for over 90 over-night stays in total.

No two volunteers for Safe Families are alike – they are young, old, married, single, of different faiths and none, working, retired or students. They all have different experiences and skills, but they all have one thing in common – they want to help people; they want to care for people and show love.

Every one of our volunteers has shown love, compassion and understanding to families – just by being there and helping families work through some of their issues.

We have so many great stories this year, but a couple do stand out:

Recently, we have helped a single mum of five who was going into hospital to have her sixth child. The two older children were catered for but she had nowhere for her three youngest to go. Safe Families hosted her three youngsters for 11 nights. When the mother and baby had a few complications, a further two volunteer Family Friends helped the new mother with jobs around the house to make it more cosy and habitable, as well as offering her emotional support.

Another case involved a mother of a very young baby, who had been used as a domestic slave in the extended family home. We hosted the mum and baby for a week, helped her to move to a refuge and later helped her and her husband start their new life together in a different house.

Most cases are not so dramatic, they just involve a listening ear and some emotional support to help isolated parents work their way out of difficulties, or introducing them into community groups, in order to lessen their isolation.

Hope Community School

Opening of Hope Community School

In September, an Olympic gold medallist and Saints legend opened the city’s newest school. Rower Louis Attrill, who won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, joined former Southampton defender Francis Benali to cut the ribbon at the Hope Community School in the city.

Hope Community is a free school that opened its doors in Central Hall, its temporary home for the next two years. A new build is planned in Chapel Road.

The school’s first term finished with its children brilliantly performing in front of an audience of nearly 100 friends and family. This is even more impressive considering there are 29 children in the school so far!

Principal Steve Wright said, ‘What struck me as we celebrated the Nativity is that, just like in the Christian Christmas story where a baby is born with a big purpose, we believe every one of our children has been born with potential and purpose. As a school, our aim is to cultivate this purpose and potential among children and families in the surrounding area through not only excellent education, but also access to a range of exciting opportunities for the whole family.

‘‘We have an amazing opportunity to join with our families on their journey and cheer them on as they set their sights higher and wider than they have ever done before!’’

‘For the children we want to raise their aspirations so that they truly believe what we believe – that they are significant and have the potential to be the movers and shakers of their generation. With our project-based curriculum and partnerships with exciting businesses such as John Lewis and Etch UK, real and purposeful problem solving is at the heart of our school.

‘For the families of our children we equally want to bring a sense of hope and community. Our Chaplain has spent time with many of our families identifying their skills, hopes and dreams. This will lead on to offering courses and opportunities to meet people that we believe will rebuild confidence and open doors to new and exciting possibilities.

‘We have an amazing opportunity to join with our families on their journey and cheer them on as they set their sights higher and wider than they have ever done before!’

Street Pastors

Large regional conference and local outcomes

It’s been a busy time for Southampton Street Pastors since the summer. We continue to work closely with our principal partners, namely the police, SCC and over a hundred churches. On the 14th September we attended the very positive re-launch of Operation Fortress, the police response to dealing with drugs in the city.

Our work also brings us into close proximity with many rough sleepers and we enjoy a close relationship with them and are able to help monitor their wellbeing. We regularly report specific concerns to the Street Homeless Prevention Team as part of safeguarding those who are especially vulnerable.

Street Pastors Conference 2017

The governing body for all street pastor initiatives is Ascension Trust. They coordinate a number of other ministries including response pastors. These are existing street pastors who have received additional training to equip them for deployment in the wake of national emergency incidents. On the 28th October 2017 Southampton hosted regional training for response pastors and now have 18 trained response pastors some of whom helped at the recent Grenfell flats disaster.

We helped organise a ‘Street Life’ event attended by about 260 street pastors from Hampshire and surrounding areas. The event was held at Kings Community Church at Hedge End and we had guest speakers running workshops on a number of diverse issues including mental health, people trafficking and leadership. The opening address was by Anwar Bourazza, a representative from Ascension Trust. He spoke about the importance of our work in towns and cities and its positive effect upon our communities.

Chaplaincy in the City

City Chaplaincy steering group

A City Chaplaincy steering group has been meeting regularly, seeking to ensure that this emerging area of ministry is properly supported with adequate training and under-pinned with prayer. It is amazing just how much chaplaincy is already happening.

‘There are ever increasing opportunities to bring chaplains into all sorts of situations. One of things that the steering group had realised was the lack of awareness across the city of what chaplaincy is and the openings that are there and so we are keen to identify, train and support people to fulfil this work’. - Chris Davis MBE, Southampton City Missioner

Chaplains get together events

One of the ways that we support those involved in chaplaincy in all its forms is to bring them together once a term to support each other, to share, to pray and to learn from each other. It has been great to connect chaplains from the hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, those working with older people, or on the streets, in massage parlours and in the workplace.

City Chaplain, Commissioning Service

On Wednesday 10th January, St James' by the Park, Shirley, hosted a Chaplaincy Commissioning Service. The Bishop of Southampton commissioned Anna Chaplains, (working with older people), Amber Chaplains, (offering emotional support and prayer for women working in the sex industry), an Oasis Academy Chaplain and Workplace Chaplains.

Training

We are hoping to run a basic training course in chaplaincy early this year. If this is something you might be interested in exploring, please contact us. No dates or venue have been agreed yet, but an expression of interest would be helpful. Contact details are below.

Beds, Begging and Business

Conference on Homelessness over 19-20 January.

Love Southampton has initiated a cross-sector conference around the issues of homelessness and street-begging. Paul Woodman said, ‘‘Southampton, like many cities, has people sleeping and begging on the street but sometimes those begging on the street are not homeless and those that are homeless are not on the street. We wanted to draw together churches, businesses, charities as well as the council, universities and police to come up with some creative solutions to these issues. We have called the conference ‘Beds, Begging and Business’ to separate out the issues of homelessness, street-begging and anti-social behaviour. There are divergent views on what approach should be taken to people who are living and begging on the streets. We want to bring all perspectives together so that we can listen, learn and innovate for the common good.’’

Love Southampton has invited City to City to help facilitate the conference; City to City is a network of people who bring their experience, ideas and hopes to develop connection, innovation and transformation in the place where they live.

Your Schools

Your Schools Southampton is a project led by Chris Davis and Sammy Jordan as part of Southampton City Mission. The aim is to make meaningful links between local churches and local schools, avoiding duplication between churches. The network supports, equips and encourages churches to be involved in their school community.

This is a long-term strategy to provide quality schools work and spiritual support, which builds relationships between schools and churches in Southampton.

At the moment, there are 141 links between churches/organisations like SCM and schools across the city. These links might consist of assemblies, chaplaincy input, RE lessons, visits or more practical support. Nine schools still have no local links and the network is working to establish quality and trusted relationships in these places.

Monty's Majors

As part of the new Anna Chaplain Southampton East’s role, Marion Hitchin and Faith Kenny have been helping out with a new and growing group for the older community at Monty’s.

Monty’s is a creative hub at the heart of the Montague Avenue area in the Sholing/Thornhill neighbourhood of Southampton. Monty’s is a community-rooted place where people can meet up, share life, get active, make new friends, learn new skills, improve job prospects, or get help and advice.

Since completing their building refurbishment in April 2017, they have started a number of new gatherings for our older community. A social group, Monty’s Majors, has seen steady growth and is developing into a cohesive group as they meet weekly over hot drinks, sweet treats and good conversation, accompanied by various knitting projects, games and activities.

Monty's Majors

CLEAR & EU Welcome

This year voluntary agencies in the City have been facing funding issues due to reduced grants, and the challenge of applying and receiving grants from charitable sources. EU Welcome too has been affected and faced the possibility of having to cease operating. EU Welcome not only provides a much needed service in the City, it is also highly respected among the voluntary and statutory bodies, as well as the City Council and others. So we are delighted to announce that we will be able to continue into 2018 and hopefully beyond!

Since its beginnings in 2004 EU W has been a project of the Southampton City Centre Catholic Parish. They and the Portsmouth Catholic Diocese have provided background support and guidance. As of January, EU Welcome has merged with CLEAR to maximise the service that we, as a city, provide for EU citizens, emigrants and refugees.

Council of Reference

  • Bishop Jonathan Frost – Bishop of Southampton (Chair)
  • Rev Arthur Cowburn – Methodist Superintendent, Southampton Circuit
  • Paul Finn - Chair, Southampton Christian Network
  • Rev Dr Sarah Hall – URC Group Minister, South-West Hants Group
  • Rt Rev Monsignor Vincent Harvey – Catholic Dean of Southampton
  • Canon Billy Kennedy – Leader of New Community Church and Pioneer network of churches
  • Pastor John Paul Oddoye – Leader of Covenant Life Ministries
  • Pastor Michael Olutoye – Southampton Pastors Network
  • Bev Webb – Leader of City Life Church

The Network Team is composed of working groups. It is working to coordinate activities and keep the development of Love Southampton open and inclusive:

  • Paul Woodman (Chair) (Oasis UK, City Life Church)
  • John Ayrton (Portswood Church)
  • Dave Barclay (Alder Trust)
  • Chris Davis (Colne Avenue Baptist Church)
  • Mandy Harding (Street Pastors)
  • Sammy Jordan (Highfield Church)
  • Rev Erica Roberts (Highfield Church)
  • Will Rosie (Millbrook Christian Centre)
  • Liz Taylor (New Community Church)

Contact

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