Summer Newsletter July 2017

There is so much to encourage us in this newsletter. Those involved with Love Southampton see themselves as a network of Christians who seek to serve the City we love. I think this Summer Newsletter is a wonderful illustration of the projects and the pieces of life transforming work that are underway in partnership with the City and its many agencies. Enjoy the read. Please do get involved in areas that interest or draw you. With best wishes and my prayers, Bishop Jonathan

Hope Community School

The new primary school in St Mary’s, Hope Community School, will open in September with a class of Reception children. Two qualified teachers have been recruited and engagement with families has begun with a reading project and parent evenings.

Building work is underway at Central Hall for the temporary site and preparation is on-going for the new-build in Chapel Road near St Mary’s Stadium. The next big day for the school is transition day and as a building is not yet ready, children will be treated to an educational day at Marwell Zoo.

The vision for the school is to develop children who are ‘Community Pioneers’ – children who learn in the community, about the community, for the community. The curriculum will encourage as much learning outside the classroom as possible and will focus on developing children’s problem-solving skills.

Mr. Wright, the Principal of Hope Community School, said, “We are all really excited that our school is so close to opening. It has been fantastic meeting all of the families who have already signed up to be part of the adventure and we can’t wait to start turning the dream into a reality - a truly innovative school aiming to develop children who have the skills, character and compassion to make a transformational difference to their communities."

There are currently still places available at Hope Community School so if you would like to find out more please contact the school.

Faith Dialogue

Bishop Philip Egan’s (Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth) visit to Abu Bakr Mosque

Bishop Philip, accompanied by Monsignor Canon Vincent Harvey, visited Abu Bakr Mosque for Friday Prayers on 2nd June. He was invited to address the full mosque before the Prayers. An extract from his address:

"Great Britain is a highly secular society. Yet you and I, Muslims and Christians, we are people of religion, faith and spirituality. We believe in God, and we believe that every human being is called to know Him, serve Him and love Him, to worship Him and to respect Him, and to find in Him ultimate happiness. It’s our task to witness to this in society, so that other people, those who say they have no religion, those who say they’re not sure, those who are lost or on the margins, can find their way home to Him. This is why I’d like to ask you to pray also for us Christians, as we pray for you. Together, we have an important task in society and so we need to be strong, solid, authentic in our religion: in a word, holy. Indeed, it’s crucial for the well-being and the future of our land, and something to think about as we prepare for the General Election next week".

Safe Families for Children

Safe Families for Children supports families at a time of crisis to help reduce the flow of children being taken into care. Working with local churches and community groups, Safe Families seeks to recruit volunteers who can get alongside and support isolated families and build a community of people to support them. Since October and our launch in Southampton, we have been very busy indeed! We have recruited over 150 volunteers. Working closely with Children's Services we have been able to support 35 families so far, and over 70 children. We are beginning to make a real difference in the lives of families. Since September, Southampton has seen a 12% reduction in the number of children in care and 29% reduction in the number of children in need.

“I did not trust anybody, but since my volunteer has visited me I now know there are people out there who really want to help”.

We have also recently launched in Hampshire and are now starting to work in Bournemouth as our work continues to expand along the South Coast.

“We have been excited to work with Safe Families, who have started to make a real difference, in how we work with families where children are in need of support. In a very short space of time, Safe Families have immersed themselves in our local processes and uniquely are regular attenders at internal case management discussions, offering tangible offers of support that make a real difference. It is early days, but it is no coincidence that by coming on board Safe Families have helped us to achieve real outcomes with households with often complex problems, many of whom are in a crisis and may in the past, have received a more traditional, but sometimes expensive, less effective response – such as an out of area placement. They have helped us expand our menu of support that in turn is reducing demand on our services and helping families get the right help at the right time. When I am asked what difference Safe Families makes, all things aside, the real difference is they are in the room, contributing to discussions and decision making that benefits families”. Jason Murphy, Southampton City Council

Peace Walk - Covenant of Faith and Society

Covenant of Faith and Society

At the Peace Walk on Sunday 2nd July, organised by the Council of Faiths, a covenant was signed by representatives from Southampton City Council and the Southampton Council of Faiths (SCOF). The covenant exists with support from all parliamentary parties to support the role of faith communities in public life, setting out the parameters for how faith and society work in partnership. More information available on the Council of Faiths website.

"It was a great privilege for me to sign the Covenant between SCOF and the City Council on behalf of the Christian representatives. Now we must make it work." Monsignor Vincent Harvey

Refugee Support

CLEAR (City Life Education and Action for Refugees) continues its unique advice and education work in Southampton for asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants. CLEAR started an exciting new project funded by the European Social Fund through the Hants & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) which aims to improve training and employment opportunities for new refugees in the city.

The Learning Team's hard work has paid off, with 100% Attendance and 100% Pass for all those entered for the Trinity College London Speaking and Listening exams. The latest successful bid generated by the Team has been given a quality ranking of third in the City out of 13 providers, and achieved an additional £20,000 for CLEAR to provide ESOL with crèche for parents of young children and a range of courses to help progress our ESOL learners further.

CLEAR contributed to the many events in Refugee Week at the end of June, organised by City of Sanctuary Southampton. One of the sell-out events was the showing of The Guernica Children, an award-winning film telling the story of 4,000 Basque children - refugees from the Spanish Civil War - who were brought to Southampton in May 1937 and accommodated at a camp near Eastleigh. After the showing, a panel including the film’s director, Steve Bowles, and CLEAR’s Manager, Mike Brown, answered questions from the audience, reflecting on how the landscape for refugees to Britain had changed over the intervening 80 years.

Mike Brown said, “The story of the Basque refugee children teaches us that the incredible humanitarian response of ordinary people in Southampton will always prevail."

Chaplaincy

Chaplains within the city gathered recently to share the ways in which they are serving and to think about how they could grow this area of service. Chaplains worked in a wide range of settings including the football club, hospitals, schools and universities; with older people, and those working within the night-time economy and sex industry. Many more places are requesting a chaplaincy service, with opportunities opening up in workplaces, theatres and shopping centres.

"Chaplains are increasingly in demand in our city to listen, support and signpost". Chris Davis MBE

Chaplains to the region’s football clubs also gathered at St Mary’s Stadium to talk about the various openings in the football clubs. Andy Bowerman, Chaplain to Southampton FC, hosted chaplains from Reading, Bournemouth and Portsmouth to hear from one another as well as from Linvoy Primus – Christians in Sport, Pastoral support to elite clubs.

Street Pastors

Street Pastors is now in its ninth year with a hundred volunteers drawn across 48 churches.

Night-time patrols are busy dealing with those suffering from excessive alcohol consumption but thankfully the general trend is slightly down. However, incidents dealing with those suffering from the effects of drugs has risen. Street Pastors carry comprehensive signposting material to point people to the many support agencies within the city and gently encourage those with addiction issues to engage with them. There is also a marked increase in those who are homeless. It is a privilege to spend time getting to know these vulnerable people. Street Pastors enjoys a great relationship with our partners at the Street Homeless Prevention Team and ensure they are alerted to those of special concern. Again, we encourage the homeless to engage with support services.

Our evening work in Millbrook has been going for a year and the teams are very well received by local residents and retail outlets. Street Pastors are also starting a new schools initiative at Redbridge Community School. This will complement our existing work at Upper Shirley High and Cantell schools and the youth work emanating from Millbrook Christian Centre. Street Pastors in Millbrook consistently see the adverse effect of bored teenagers and hope to promote this youth work at the school gate and through patrols. We cover additional events such as Halloween and the recent Common People where we helped numerous people suffering from excesses of alcohol or drugs.

The stories from patrols are consistently inspirational; lives saved, spiritual needs addressed, people given renewed hope, families and friends reunited, communities brought together and atmospheres changed. Street Pastors shows what can be achieved when the church rolls up its sleeves and gets involved with communities; preventing crime, enriching communities, and complementing the Police and partners at the City Council. This saves the public purse and frees up the Police and other resources, while helping keep people out of A&E. We ran two training courses last year and our next commences on 15th September 2017.

General Election Hustings

Hustings were hosted by local churches in all three Southampton constituencies, with local residents invited to hear from candidates standing for the General Election. Three hustings took place at City Life Church, St James by the Park and Oasis Academy Mayfield. These were well attended and gave good opportunity for the public to hear from the candidates on a wide variety of issues.

Bishop Jonathan and Councillor Kaur, Southampton Peace Fountain

Due to the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert some hustings had to be rescheduled while campaigning was suspended, and the one at Above Bar Church became a Vigil Service to pray for Manchester and all those affected. Bishop Jonathan spoke at an open air service at the Peace Fountain on the Sunday following the attacks, standing with representatives from other faith communities in solidarity with Manchester.

Pastoral leaders from 22 different schools in the city came together to be trained to run a loss and grief course. The event was funded by Southampton City Council and delivered by Paul Woodman from Oasis Academy Mayfield. Those attending were shown how to run a course of four interactive, educational and supportive sessions that are designed to support students affected by a significant loss experience (death of a close person, parental separation).

Your Schools Southampton is a project led by Chris Davis and Sammy Jordan under the auspices of Southampton City Mission. Your Schools does not in itself DO schools work. Instead the vision is to support, equip and encourage a network of people from churches and Christian organisations across the city who go into schools. The aim is for every school in the city to be connected with a supportive, local, equipped Christian church or organisation.

Recently, the focus has been on making connections with key people involved in children’s and youth work across the city, gradually drawing in others to the growing base of support., The half-termly prayer meetings for schools across the city, hosted since January, have been encouraging times where God has created networks and ‘joined dots’ before our eyes.

A training day focused on school assemblies provided another opportunity to bring people together to share experiences and expertise, and to grow the network. More training days will take place in the next academic year and we are exploring a training day focussed on story-telling.

Dementia Friendly City

Led by the Alzheimer’s Society, together with a citywide team, Southampton is working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly City this year. Recent events at St Mary’s Stadium and West Quay celebrated the progress being made, as well as continuing to raise awareness of living with dementia

Erica Roberts, City Chaplain for Older People is part of the City Steering group and co-chairs the first Dementia Friendly Community Group in Portswood.

As part of this group we held a hugely successful community festival opened by Alan Whitehead MP on Saturday 13th May in Portswood Recreation Ground, together with Carers Southampton and Friends of Portswood Rec. Supported by a small Lottery Grant, over 600 attended the event, including local musicians, scouts, schools, the Police and the University of Southampton. Raising awareness of dementia, whilst sharing stories of local history, was a key focus for the day

Holiday at Home

Social isolation, especially amongst our older community, is being increasingly recognised. An amazingly creative and enthusiastic team, led by Erica, the City Chaplain for Older People, held Anchors Away, at Highfield Church on 22nd and 23rd June. Bringing older members of our community together to build friendships and have fun together, whilst having a ‘holiday at home’, is one way we’re seeking to alleviate loneliness and social isolation in our city.

Holiday at Home

Almost 80 guests joined us for our luxury Mediterranean cruise to Italy, Greece and Turkey! This was a real community event, with Waitrose providing a popular Italian Cheese and Wine Tasting, Nick’s Greek Restaurant sending tapas and local musicians entertaining us with background jazz in the Palm Court Café.

It was also encouraging to see children and young people coming to take part, providing entertainment, painting nails, playing deck quoits and in the process sharing the experience together.

Monty's Community Hub

Monty's community hub in Southampton has reopened after a £50,000 regeneration.
“We’re excited about the enormous benefit the redevelopment will have for our community, groups and volunteers. As well as providing an improved space for our current users, we can now expand what’s on offer – giving us opportunities to reach new people in the area and shape our groups and activities in response to their needs. Our new facilities will enable these great ideas to become a reality.” Chair of trustees, Reverend Jon Oliver

Children and Families

The Love Southampton Parent and Toddler work group has met regularly this year. The strategy has been to bring key people round the same table - different community, charity and church groups - to think about how we can work together. There is a recognition that early intervention is key and so that has been our focus. We have been trying to discern key needs and a major project has been the mapping of parent and toddler groups across the city so that we can easily signpost groups to people as well as identifying the gaps where the need is.

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, South-West Hants Group

• 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

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)

• Chris Davis (Testwood Baptist Church)

• Liz Taylor (New Community Church)

• Dave Barclay (Alder Trust)

• Rev Erica Roberts (Highfield Church)

• John Ayrton (Portswood Church)

• Sammy Jordan (Highfield Church)

• Mandy Harding (Street Pastors)

• Will Rosie (Millbrook Christian Centre)

Contact

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