Love Southampton Spring Newsletter March 2019

In this PACKED issue:

  • Bishop Jonathan’s appointment to York
  • Caraway Launch
  • Safe Families for Children wins national award for supporting families
  • Mayflower 400
  • Mental Health Working Group
  • Homelessness Charter Launch
  • Hope Community School visits the Mayor’s Parlour and St. Mary’s Fire Station!
  • City Chaplaincy
  • Young Life International
  • Young people from Southampton trained up to tackle bullying with the Diana Award
  • Southampton Street Pastors
  • Welcome bags for those who are homeless
  • Launch of Hope Into Action: Southampton
  • Armistice 100

With thanks to Joy Chalke for the spring images.

Bishop Jonathan’s appointment to York

The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost, formerly Bishop Suffragan of Southampton, has been installed as the 76th Dean of York.

The Rt Rev Tim Dakin, the Bishop of Winchester, presided at a Eucharist on the 19th January in Winchester Cathedral to say farewell to Bishop Jonathan Frost, his wife, Christine and the family. The Central Nave of the Cathedral was full of people from different Christian Traditions and different Faiths who took this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to an ecumenical and interfaith friend. During his 8 or so years as Bishop of Southampton, Jonathan built up connections and relationships with many sectors of society, both religious and civil. He worked tirelessly to enable the Church to impact on the life of Southampton and for people of all faiths to not only respect one another, but to work together for the greater good. Jonathan was an enthusiastic and committed member of ‘Love Southampton’ and Chair of ‘The Reference Group’ (which has representation from different Christian traditions).

Jonathan has relocated to York Minster and Yorkshire from the Diocese of Winchester, where he served as Suffragan Bishop of Southampton from 2010-2019. He also served as an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Jonathan co-founded Love Southampton, an initiative which involved churches partnering with Southampton City Council on a number of projects for the common good.

Billy Kennedy said ‘As soon as Bishop Jonathan arrived in the city he immediately began the task of reaching out to all parts of the community - church leaders from all backgrounds and traditions, civic leaders, other faith leaders and the wider community. I was struck by his humility, his prayerfulness and his desire to be engaged in the day-to-day life of the Church. The people of York have gained an authentic ‘man of God’. He will be greatly missed by many in Southampton. We pray for God’s richest blessings upon him and Christine and family in this new venture.’

Riverside Park

Caraway Launch

It was encouraging to be joined by over 120 guests as we gathered to celebrate the launch of Caraway, our new charity that aims to promote the spiritual well-being of the older person in Southampton, and beyond. We were thrilled to be able to showcase some of the amazing work being offered for older people in our city, as we then cast the vision for how Caraway could join in and participate in being an advocate for our older people locally. Supporting Anna Chaplains, who are available to help navigate some of the challenges of later life, Caraway also offers training and supports projects such as Holiday at Home, that seeks to bring the generations together, for a few days of fun and friendship.

We were enormously grateful for the support offered by Councillor Peter Baillie, the Sheriff of Southampton and Paul Moore, the Archdeacon for Mission, Diocese of Winchester. Most of all we were delighted that so many of our older community came to support the event and also to contribute, as David and Marie Damp shared about some of the challenges and opportunities of ageing and David Corfe read a poem that he had written based around one of Rembrandt’s Self Portraits, painted in his older years.

Safe Families for Children wins national award for supporting families

Love Southampton is thrilled that one of our partners in the city, Safe Families for Children, have won the prestigious Family award from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) for its work connecting isolated families with volunteers in their community.

In Southampton alone wonderful volunteers have been able get alongside and support over 120 families and have seen it benefitting over 280 children. The council see the amazing impact and opportunity that the community can have in supporting isolated families and connecting them into networks and community.

Kat Osborn, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Families, said in her acceptance speech:

'Safe Families is honoured to have been nominated to win this award alongside such inspirational charities. At Safe Families, we believe that every child deserves to thrive and that the best place for them to experience that is in their own family.'

'This award recognises the passion and dedication of our 4000 volunteers who have come alongside isolated families; providing relationships that bring hope and enabling children to feel safe and happy in a connected and supported home.'

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice think tank, said:

'Safe Families works with local community organisations such as churches and community volunteers to relieve the pressures on families that may cause them to break apart. Breakdown has long-term and irreversible effects particularly on the children, as well as their parents. CSJ research has repeatedly shown that if children are not brought up in stable homes, they suffer across the board.'

The CSJ recognises Safe Families’ compassion, generosity and efficiency in helping families to rediscover hope. Above all, those who work on the ground in often unforgiving situations deserve immense gratitude.'

This is the film that was made by CSJ telling the story of just one of the amazing families we support!

Mayflower 400

Neil Maddock, chaplain for Southampton theatre

As Southampton prepares for the 400th Anniversary since the Mayflower ship left the city, Neil Maddock from E-quip Arts has been researching the faith of those who left for America. As part of the 2020 celebrations, he will be pulling together a team of people to stage a large event in Mayflower Park that tells something of the historical story of the Mayflower whilst focusing on the themes of faith, hope and courage. 'Mayflower: Journey of Hope' will be a challenge to take a look at the journeys we all take in life and where we place our hope along the way. We will be looking at the courage and conviction of those believers that made the trip across the seas to discover freedom.

If you'd like to know more now, then contact Neil on neil@e-quiparts.org.uk.


Mental Health Working Group

A new working group has been set up around Mental Health. The group, set up by Annie Clewlow from Communicare, is committed to making Southampton a Mental Health Friendly City. Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity enriching the lives of people in need in our local communities through befriending and practical help. One of the biggest priorities for the charity was offering sufficient support for those with mental health challenges. Networking revealed that a number of organisations had a desire to play their part in tackling the issue but lacked confidence in 'going it alone'. This has led to this idea of a joint approach with more space for working together.

Homelessness Charter Launch

Charities, faith groups, and civic chiefs have all pledged to end homelessness in Southampton, after signing a charter promising to help those affected.

The commitment will see the city council partner with businesses and voluntary groups to pool resources together and combat the issue as a collective, rather than overlapping support.

Named the Southampton Rough Sleeping and Begging Charter, it was signed by members, including Itchen MP Royston Smith and charity heads, at a special event recently held during the Beds, Begging and Business conference in Central Baptist Church.

Key points in the document include calling on local businesses, groups, and residents to work together to end homelessness in the city; coordinating support and help given by those groups; creating more bed spaces; developing an alternative giving scheme; and ensuring anyone sleeping rough, or is homeless, is treated with respect and dignity.

Now civic chiefs in Southampton have also pledged to use the new charter to help those sleeping rough.

Cabinet member for homes and communities, Councillor Satvir Kaur, said:

'Homelessness and rough sleeping is a growing national issue. Here in Southampton, we believe no-one should need to sleep rough or beg, and work hard to prevent, support and enable those that find themselves in often helpless situations.'

'This charter is an important and exciting step forward towards seeking a Southampton solution to tackling rough sleeping, based on strong partnership working where everyone has a part to play. With lots of factors creating homelessness, I am pleased we as a city are coming together to try to address it.'

As part of the partnership, a new Street Support website and app for the city has been launched, to allow locals to find help, as well as support groups and charities to apply to share resources.

Dave Shields, city councillor for Freemantle – who has helped to put the charter together, said:

'It is tremendous to see the charter. Ultimately we want to make sure that we can provide help to both prevent homelessness and also support those at risk.

Groups and charities want to work together but sometimes the communication is not that great, hopefully the charter will help to make working together easier, so more people can be helped. We want to also work with the media and wider public to encourage them to support the charter. Sometimes people want to give their time and money to help, but are unsure who to go to. This charter and partnership will help to guide people.'

So far 22 groups have signed up to the charter, including Solent University, City Life Church, The Salvation Army, Southampton Street Pastors, The Society of St James, Southampton Voluntary Services, Southampton Sunday Lunch Project, and EU Welcome.

City Life Church leader, Paul Woodman, said: 'Our vision is for Southampton to be a city where no one needs to sleep rough or beg. To achieve this, we are inviting others to join with us in tackling the problem. Too often, we are duplicating services or missing gaps that exist, our aim with the Southampton charter is to encourage better co-ordination in this area.'

Hope Community School visits the Mayor’s Parlour and St. Mary’s Fire Station!

Hope Community School has been going from strength to strength. The school has two classes of children (Reception and Year 1.) The school is looking forward to welcoming another thirty children in September. The numbers for the next school academic year are looking very good and we are hoping that construction work will soon begin on our new building!

One of the values of the school is ‘Community’, so we actively seek to make links in the local area. The Year 1 children (Pionneers) recently had the privilege of visiting the Mayor’s Parlour. Mayor and Mayoress Barnes-Andrews warmly welcomed them with drinks and biscuits. They were then given a most interesting tour of the offices and all the many gifts received.

Meanwhile the Year R children (Explorers) set off through St. Mary’s to visit the fire station. They had a fantastic time where they met some of ‘Green Watch’, who gave them a tour of station. They also got to dress up, squirt water from a real fire hose and turn on the flashing lights in a fire engine! It was an experience they will never forget.

City Chaplaincy

Young Life International

A new initiative was launched by local churches to improve the offer of youth work in the city. Over 200 came along to an afternoon tea at St Mary’s Stadium. The event was supported by the Listener’s Trust and was supported by schools, local charities and at least 15 churches around the city. Young Life International is a world class organisation working with around two million teenagers in over 100 countries. Young people from across Southampton will be heading to the Young Life camp in Scotland this summer.

Young Life Summer Camp

Young people from Southampton trained up to tackle bullying with the Diana Award

Supported by Alan Whitehead MP, over 130 students took part in a one-day training session run by The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill. Young people, aged between 11 and 16, acquired vital skills to enable them to change the attitudes and behaviours towards bullying by building their skills and confidence.

The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign works to change the attitude surrounding bullying both across the UK and beyond. The programme has a strong peer-to-peer focus, with trainers giving young people the skills and confidence to become Ambassadors to tackle bullying in their schools long after the training has finished. The Diana Award’s anti-bullying work is recognised as world-class thanks to this sustainable approach.

The workshop looked at bullying in different situations including face-to-face and on-line. At the end of the day, students made an action plan of how to approach any bullying issues that may arise in their schools and committed to their roles as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

Commenting on the training Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill Principal Rob Forder, said, “I am delighted to host this much acclaimed training in Southampton. Local schools have been quick to sign up to the event and it shows our combined commitment within Southampton to do all that we can to promote the safety, happiness and well-being of our young people”.

Southampton Street Pastors

Street Pastors have now exceeded 50,000 volunteering hours since its inception in April 2009. In December, Street Pastors were delighted to appoint a further three Trustees.

The Christmas period was, as ever, very busy. On the last Friday before Christmas, we had nearly 20 Street Pastors out in the city centre and capped it off with a pop-up carol service on London Road.

Christmas ‘pop-up’ carol service, London Road

In addition to this we had teams out the following night and on New Year’s Eve. Two of the most recent messages received from people we have helped include –

"I would like to say a huge thank you to the Street Pastors who looked after my daughter earlier in December. At the time she had been thrown out of a paid for taxi and left on the street in a very dazed state. The Street Pastors walked her to the student halls of residence where she is staying, it was not until the next day she realised her drink had been spiked. I cannot thank you enough for helping her and keeping her safe, my stomach churns at the thought of what could have happened to an innocent teenager."

You incredible angels made our night 💖 thank you so much for the fabulous flip flops, they saw us home safe and sound. You guys are legendary xxxxxxxxx

In March 2019 we start our spring training and are hopeful a number of recruits will be joining our ranks. In May 2019 we look forward to our 10 year anniversary which we will be combining with the commissioning of a number of our more recent recruits.

Another day at the office…

Welcome Bags for the Homeless

Christian network Love Southampton called on churches and other organisations to support homeless hostels with welcome bags for those coming off the streets.The initiative was part of a wider campaign to reduce rough sleeping and begging in the city.

It came after figures published last year revealed that homeless people in Britain outnumber the entire population of Newcastle.

Residents filled welcome bags with a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, a razor, a towel, socks, underwear, tracksuit bottoms and bars of chocolate in a bid to support people coming off the streets.

Paul Woodman, church leader at City Life Church, speaking on behalf of Love Southampton, said: 'This is part of our long -term commitment to reducing rough sleeping in Southampton. We invite any community group or school to join us in caring for people in this very practical way.'

The first welcome bags, containing fresh clothes, toiletries and other everyday essentials, were donated by City Life Church and Romsey Abbey and will go directly to the hostels. Well over 100 Welcome Bags have already been collected and distributed.

Hope Into Action: Southampton

‘Hope into Action: Southampton’ is a Christian housing project being set up to help break the cycle of housing poverty in the city. It is part of the national Hope into Action network, an award-winning charity, that enables churches to provide homes for the homeless, with a core mission to make homelessness history. We are currently in the process of buying our first house through a social investment. We would love you to be part of the journey with us.

For more information email dan.pooley@hopeintoaction.org.

Remembrance 2018

100 years since the end of the WW1

On Friday, 9th November, two days before Armistice Day and the centenary of the end of First World War, a group of students from Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Sholing came together for an event at Central Hall, Southampton, to honour the sacrifice of previous generations by joining a movement of change for peace as part of a national day of INSPIRE events.

INSPIRE is a peace-making initiative for young people, schools and communities. Its aim is to commemorate those who have given their lives during conflict in response to the centenary of the ending of the ‘Great War’, by acting as the impetus to take positive action to work for peace in local communities and personal relationships.

Students and staff from the three academies joined nearly 6,000 others gathered together in 14 different venues across England, Wales and N Ireland, alongside hundreds of assemblies, local gatherings and projects in schools across the UK to participate in INSPIRE.

Students from Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Sholing performed some inspiring pieces of work including a bespoke drama called ‘Trench Hill, a First World War extract’, student statements on peace, and a military drum performance.

Rev Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of the Oasis group of charities and the INSPIRE movement added, 'For this generation, peace is history rather than reality. INSPIRE is changing that by empowering young people to not only learn from the past, but also actively engage with the present so that the future can be different.'

For too many young people, peace is an old-fashioned term that comes straight out of the history books. In their day-to-day lives, it is an irrelevance. Peace means very little to a young person who believes they need to carry a knife to protect themselves, or who are struggling to find a place to belong; a sense of who they or whether their lives matter.

'To take part in such a project takes courage and determination. I am very grateful to the young people of our Oasis Academies Lord’s Hill, Mayfield and Sholing, for heeding the call and using this year’s centenary of the end of World War One to take a stand for peace.'

On Sunday 11th November, Monsignor Vincent Harvey and the Venerable Dr Peter Rouch led the Annual Remembrance Service at the Southampton Cenotaph. Several thousand people attended marking the 100th anniversary since the end of the first world war. Prayers for healing, for the dead and for peace were said by young people from the Ba’hai, Buddhist, Christian Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.

Council of Reference

  • Bishop Jonathan Frost – Bishop of Southampton (chair)
  • Bev Webb – City Life Church
  • Billy Kennedy – Leader of New Community Church
  • Paul Finn - Southampton Christian Network
  • Pastor John Paul Odoyye – Covenant Church
  • Pastor Michael Olutoye – Southampton Pastors Network
  • Rev Dr Sarah Hall – URC Group Minister, Avenue St Andrews
  • Rev Arthur Cowburn – Methodist Superintendent, Southampton Circuit
  • Rt Rev Monsignor Vincent Harvey – Coordinating Pastor of Central & West Southampton Catholic Parishes

Working Groups

  • Home For Good - (working on fostering and adoption) - Paul Woodman (City Life Church) and Chris Kilby (Life Church Southampton)
  • Children and families - John Ayrton (Portswood Church) and Chris Allcock (Safe Families for Children)
  • Housing and Homelessness - Paul Woodman (City Life Church) (more details…)
  • Hardship - Chris and Annette Davis (Colne Avenue Baptist Church)
  • Mental Health - Annie Clewlow (Communicare)
  • Chaplaincy - Chris Davis (Southampton City Mission) and Sandra Lambros (Street Pastors), Nicky Porter (Amber Chaplains), Erica Roberts (Chaplain for Older People) and Paul Woodman

Steering Group

  • Paul Woodman (chair) (City Life Church, Chaplain to the Oasis Academies)
  • Chris Davis (Testwood Baptist Church)
  • Chris Allcock (Safe Families for Children)
  • Annie Clewlow (Communicare)
  • Rev Erica Roberts (Highfield Church)
  • John Ayrton (Portswood Church)
  • Neil Maddock (Riverside Family Church)
  • Mike Sarson (Southampton Street Pastors)


To contact any of the groups, the steering group or the Council of Reference, please email info@lovesouthampton.org.uk

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