Newsletter - Summer 2016

Love Southampton is an initiative of the churches in Southampton that springs from the very heart of who we are - a diverse community of people united in our love for God and our love for our neighbour.

Love Southampton draws together people and projects who are working for the common good of the neighbourhoods and communities in the city. Rather than being a registered charity or organisation delivering initiatives and projects itself, Love Southampton is a network that initiates, co-ordinates and mobilises resources to help local projects work in collaboration. The three supporting church networks are Churches Together, Southampton Christian Network (SCN) and the Southampton Pastors’ Network.

A word from Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton

It was Martin Luther King who said "Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve." Whether our service of and for the City is mediated through a voluntary organisation, the churches, faith communities or in another sphere of civic life, it seems to me that the challenge of our day is to learn to work together for the Common Good rather than to continue in our separate silos. The challenge to create a flourishing city is one that can only be responded to together and wherever possible, in creative partnerships for the good of everyone. It's for this reason I value the vision of Love Southampton: for many years the churches of Southampton have worked well together in serving the city we love so much. Love Southampton builds on this good history of trust and working together to create a space for partnership for each other, with the City Council and all for the Common Good. I commend the work of Love Southampton wherever I go.

It is great to be able to share that the Safe Families for Children project will be operating in Southampton from this October. Safe Families is a Christian charity working in partnership with the Local Authority’s Children’s Services to link families in need with local volunteers who can offer them help and support. It aims to reduce the number of children who need to be ‘looked after’ in care, and it does this through a large team of trained volunteers from local churches. Safe Families is not fostering or adoption by another name, but it is a way of supporting parents who need help to restore stability in their lives, helping them get back on their feet. Safe Families works with local authorities to reduce the flow of children being ‘looked after’ and taken into care. Safe Families has a proven track record of success. Having started in the North East of England in 2013, the programme has been rolled out into four regions: East Midlands, Greater Manchester, Mersey Region and West Midlands working with 20 local authorities, and now expanding into the South Coast .

When a crisis strikes a family with children, its effects can be devastating. Many of us would turn to relatives and friends for support. However, some families can be really isolated with nobody there to help them. Safe Families provides support for these families whilst their issues are being resolved and, if needed, often providing a short stay for their children with a trustworthy family. Research shows that local churches are becoming increasingly well equipped to help families in their community – on a family-to-family basis. Safe Families often describes this as ‘a community based solution to a community based problem’.

Safe Families has a strong relationship with churches in local communities, where most of its volunteers are found. Safe Families provides Family Friends, Host Families and Resource Friends to help while parents seek to restore stability in their lives. Chris Allcock will be leading the programme here in the Solent. Recruitment activities for the core team have begun, and vacancies (i.e. Family Support Manager, Referrals Co-ordinator, Community Volunteer Manager) will be posted on the Safe Families website:

In addition to the core team, Safe Families needs to recruit and train approximately 100 volunteers in a variety of roles: Host Homes, Family Friends and Resource Friends by 30 September 2016. Information events are planned on the following dates for those interested in being volunteers. Please do let Chris know if you would like to attend:

14 June @ Highfield Church, Southampton, 7.30 - 9.00pm

7 July @ St Thomas’ Church, Fair Oak, 7.30 - 9.00pm

12 July @ Above Bar Church, Southampton, 8.00 - 9.30pm

The CLEAR staff and 50 volunteers working with Refugees and Asylum seekers, have moved premises to 2 James Street. The new space has bigger classrooms for English classes and more space for advice and support work. The centre is in the middle of the community so the move is a beneficial one. Shortly after the move, the first Syrian families arrived in Southampton and CLEAR has worked closely with the City Council to ensure that they are supported to settle and integrate. Other families are expected to arrive soon. To find out more about CLEAR or to support their work reintegrating refugees, please visit their website or contact Paul Leppitt:

Your Schools Southampton is a project led by Sammy Jordan and Chris Davis with a vision that every school in the city is connected with a supportive Christian church or organisation. Sammy and Chris are both part of Southampton SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) and Sammy is also Education Associate for the diocese. These two organisations help link the project to every school in the city.

Your Schools Southampton has two key strategies:

  • to map church involvement with schools in our city.
  • to continue to build the network that will resource and equip churches engaging with schools.

The aim is to create partnerships to engage with schools through offering training, mentoring, resourcing and equipping , where needed to staff and pupils. This is a long term strategy to provide quality schools work, spiritual support and that builds relationship across the schools in Southampton.

Passion Retold, Good Friday 2016

Over 2,000 people gathered in the heart of the city on a sunny Good Friday to be part of the Passion Retold event. The dramatic re-telling of the Christian Easter story was held at Guildhall Square, in the Cultural Quarter was the venue for this dramatic retelling of the Christian Easter story. A cast of 10 actors and a live band performed the last week of the life of Jesus and in so doing, asked the audience to consider who Jesus was to them. The event culminated in everyone being invited to join and sing a couple of well known Christian hymns. It was a fantastic sight see so many people singing praises to God and celebrating their faith at this special time of year.

As part of a national initiative, coordinated by the Cinnamon Network, Alder Trust contacted as many faith groups as possible in order to capture the social impact and economic value of all they do for communities in Southampton.

The results indicated that in 2014 there were 313 projects, 98,689 beneficiaries and 755 volunteers. This represents almost £4.8 million being provided by faith groups for the good of the city.

Fairness Commission Report

Several members of the Love Southampton team contributed to the Fairness Commission Report published in December. Love Southampton organised a follow-up meeting for churches at Covenant Life Ministries church centre to reflect and pray about the issues raised in the report. Some of the highlighted local statistics from the report available online were:

  • nearly a quarter of children live in poverty
  • 300 week waiting list for housing
  • 21.8% of Year 6 children are classified as obese.

You can access the report here:

The Southampton Healthy Homes project helps those that find themselves in fuel poverty. The project benefits those whose homes are cold or damp, where heating and hot water aren’t working, or if they are having difficult paying their fuel bills. The faith groups have helped identify people in our communities and neighbourhoods who may be vulnerable, and to signpost them to the project. Help includes energy advice, tariff change support, crisis intervention (e.g. emergency heating, hot meals), and grants for long term home energy improvements (e.g. new boilers, insulation).

For more information please contact Sophia:

Safeguarding Network

Alder Trust facilitates a network of safeguarding leads from across the faith communities for training and equipping. The Safeguarding Network has hosted talks from a variety of professionals on Offender Management, Domestic Abuse, MASH and Safe Social Media. It provides an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other. It has also begun an initiative to encourage faith groups to display their Domestic Abuse Charter in public areas and their Helpline Poster in public toilets.

The next meeting focuses on Child Sexual Exploitation and is on Tuesday 5 July, 7.30 - 9pm. The next event in 2016 is on 4 October. Please book tickets on EventBrite:

Following the success of the Families for Forty campaign to recruit new foster carers and adoptive parents, a local team has formed, called Home for Good Southampton. This team includes Paul Woodman, Chris Kilby, Paul Webber and Michelle Pride. The group ties in with the new national charity, Home for Good, who have used the Southampton example as a way of encouraging other church networks to commit to finding new foster carers and adoptive parents among their congregation members.

The local team have continued to run regular recruitment events in partnership with Southampton City Council. On Wednesday 18 May, they are drawing together a group of Home for Good champions to further promote fostering and adoption across the city. To find out more, please visit their website:

Billy Kennedy (New Community) chairs the local shadow Governing Body of the New Generation Schools Trust, which plans to open a new primary school in Southampton city centre for children aged 4-11 in September 2017. This exciting and innovative school will be a school of Christian designation, open to children of any and no faith.

Hope Community School, Southampton will be the first mainstream free school in Southampton. The school is being set up in response to a widely recognised need for an additional educational choice and the need for community cohesion in the city centre.


There is a wealth of good chaplaincy happening across the city whether in the hospitals, schools or across the armed forces. Recently, Erica Roberts (Chaplain for Older People) and Paul Woodman (Chaplain to Oasis Academy Mayfield) attended a national conference on chaplaincy led by Theos and heard stories of a wide range of chaplaincy being delivered in other towns and cities. Chris Davis (Southampton City Mission) has been researching different models of chaplaincy and in talking to various people has already opportunities have opened up with five schools for pupils with Special Educational Needs. Together, we are talking more about how chaplaincy could be delivered more fully in the city.

Social Isolation

At a recent Public Health Conference (Building Thriving and Resilient communities through Community Centred Asset-based Approaches), it was reported that social isolation had a greater impact on health and wellbeing than smoking 15 cigarettes daily. Reducing social isolation and loneliness are priorities for Southampton in improving the health and wellbeing of people throughout the city. The Better Care programme is aiming to join up the city’s health and care services. To achieve a truly person centred approach, putting the individual at the heart of all we do, the concept of Better Care recognises that we need to look at the whole person not just specific health needs. This means involving voluntary and community sector organisations in helping us serve the wider wellbeing of local people. As part of this, Rev Erica Roberts is a part of the I'm on the Campaign to End Loneliness Working Group in the city. The Better Care team are consulting with local community groups, church and com- munity leaders to help see where the community and voluntary sector could become more involved and examine opportunities for organisations/groups to work together to provide an improved service.

Network Team

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

  • Paul Woodman (Chair) (Oasis UK, City Life Church)
  • Chris Davis (Testwood Baptist Church)
  • 􏰀Liz Taylor (New Community Church)
  • 􏰀Chris Kilby (Life Church)
  • 􏰀Dave Barclay (City Life Church)
  • 􏰀Rev Erica Roberts (Highfield Church)
  • 􏰀John Ayrton (Portswood Church)
  • 􏰀Sammy Jordan (Highfield Church)
  • 􏰀􏰀Mandy Harding (New Community Central / James Street Church)
  • Will Rosie (Millbrook Christian Centre)

Council of Reference

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

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.