Reaching Millenials Event, Poole, 25th Feb

A chance to think about what it looks like to reach and engage with the Millenial generation. With Key notes from Bob and Mary Hopkins, TED talks from a range of practitioners (Including the brilliant Jon and Tammy Oliver, from Sholing), and space to discuss and think about what’s being said.


Young People and Mental Health Safeguarding Dicussion Update

Mental Health – it’s the hot topic of the moment when it comes to working with young people. But how well are we managing to keep up as Christian Youth workers and churches? That was the topic for discussion when we gathered a group of youth leaders for a Round table discussion in November.

safeguarding roundtable

It was evident that all of us had brought our own stories, questions and experiences with us and evident that the young people in our youth ministries are all grappling with questions around mental health, whether for themselves or for their friends and families.


We brought some really big questions with us:

  • When do I talk to parents/school about mental health disclosure?
  • How can we best support and help young people when the NHS/School systems are so full of people needing help?
  • How can we best support CYP, families, and peers who struggle with mental health (ADHD, Autism, Self-Harm, Suicide)?
  • What’s the scale of the problem?


And some wide ranging concerns

  • Anxiety – an epidemic
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Self-harm
  • Not knowing who to go to to find information
  • Culture of escalation/Rising tide
  • Meeting needs of CYP and parents
  • Supporting schools
  • Dealing with suicide


It felt to the whole group like a whole lot had changed in the landscape in the last 5 years or so…

  • Increased pressure on young people – like Image and social media and Career choice by Year 8
  • Decreased CAMHS capacity
  • Social media – Cyber bullying = 24/7, Role models, Trolling
  • Internet
  • Drugs – MCATs, Vaping, Sex, Psychosis
  • Labelling– Traits vs. Diagnosis, Self/Parent Diagnosing
  • On the plus side – it’s now ‘on the radar’ -Some church engagement, Talking more, More resources & expertise


But we felt, there were a growing number of challenges for us as Youth leaders. Ranging from:

  • Being Leaders with mental health struggles or working along side colleagues who are struggling
  • Organisations, like NHS and local government, sometimes looking to churches to pick up the slack
  • Support can be very resource heavy (especially for Leaders)
  • What does Discipleship look like in all this?
  • How do we support Parents
  • Facing issues of Suicide in our ministries
  • Engaging with issues around Gender dysphoria – challenges of legality, safeguarding, parents, and leaders’ clarity.
  • And many more


So what was the group’s advice for youth leaders?

  • Talk about Mental Health issues – both in up front/organised Talks and but also in passing conversations
  • Be Pro-active in engagement when stuff has gone wrong
  • Create programmes that encourage positive mental health – engaging with exercise, quiet space, fun, etc


And, finally, Jackie (Diocesan Safe Guarding Adviser) and I (Sarah) got our homework to do, with requests for:

  • Training Days
    • In-house or small regional events
    • Potential of working with candidates
    • Professionals – get it right
  • Process mapping for disclosures
  • Resource list (to include Christian counselling and secular counselling)
  • Gather stories from people who’ve gone through youth groups with mental health struggles
  • Create a debrief process for leaders and safeguarding advisers
  • Support for Campaigning on Mental Health issues


We’re in discussion about how we follow up – so watch this space!


A huge thank you to those youth leaders who brought their wisdom and expertise to the discussion. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got thoughts. And please know, if you’re grappling with Mental Health challenges in your ministry, we’re here to support you!

Coffee Hubs 2017

Andy and Sarah are hitting the road again to tour the Diocese, spreading caffine, cheer, and YCF advice.


We’ll be coming to a coffee shop near you to meet with YCF leaders, Curates, Clergy, and anyone else who’d like to come talk. We’re coming to your doorstep to hear how things are going, encourage you, and chat about the challenges you might be facing in your ministry.

Get the date in the diary and we’ll get the coffee!

  • Wednesday 29th March, 10-12pm – Trago Lounge, Portswood, Southampton
  • Thursday 30th March, 10-12pm – Starbucks, Festival Place, Basingstoke
  • Thursday 27th April, 10-12pm – Costa Coffee, Lyndhurst
  • Thursday 4th May, 10-12pm – Starbucks, Winchester
  • Thursday 11th May, 10-12pm – Cafe Nero, Andover
  • Thursday 25th May, 10-12pm – St John’s Coffee Shop, Hartley Wintney
  • Thursday 8th June, 10-12pm – Costa Coffee, Mallard Park, Bournemouth

Chattabox Holiday 2017

Back again for 2017…


Andy Saunders (Diocesan Children and Families Adviser) will be helping to lead the Chattabox camp. Andy has 13 years’ experience of running the Chattabox holiday and everyone has always had a great time!

Do you know any 8 – 11 year olds who might be looking for a fun and exciting camp this summer? For more information take a look at the Chattabox Holiday website.

This is a unique opportunity for team members to gain new skills as well as bring their skills in working in Children’s Ministry to the holiday. Why not send some children and a team member(s) from your church along?

If you have any further questions about the holiday or joining the team then please contact Andy Saunders:

Mental Health Resources

When we inevitably stumble across the challenges of mental health in our youth, children’s and family work, it can be hard to know where to turn to. We hope these links will give you a bit of a place to start.


First and foremost, there are support structures in the Diocese here to help you. Your safe guarding offer in your parish can be a wealth of support. When you or they want and need some extra back up, our Diocesan Safeguarding Team are on hand to help you through. You can find all their contact details here.

And don’t forget that Andy and Sarah are just a phone call away and here to support you and point you towards further help and resources as well.

And if that’s not enough, here’s a list of brilliant organisations and resources tackling the issues of Mental Health:

Faith based:


Local Training:

For parents:

Help is out there – you don’t have to try and deal with this alone.