We are delighted to have received a ‘Hope Beyond’ Covid grant from Allchurches Trust which has allowed us to set up chaplaincy sessions at our YMCA in Guildford. Our Guildford Foyer is a 24-hour supported accommodation for young people (16-24). We provide a safe home to 30 young people in Guildford every night and a significant proportion of these are unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Elly McKay-Smith, our Eastbourne Chaplain will be leading chaplaincy in Guildford. Anyone who follows Elly on social media (@macsm) will know the amazing energy and heart she brings to her role as Chaplain.
Since starting she’s already been gardening with residents as well as leading healthy cooking sessions and sharing meals.
Speaking about setting up chaplaincy in Guildford she said: “It has been refreshing to work with such a variety of young people from such diverse backgrounds and find commonality through the love of cooking and sharing a meal together. We have even been planting a variety of different vegetables to use – squashes, aubergine, tomatoes, basil and mint included!
The role of our Chaplains is to spend time with the residents in their projects, cooking and eating with them, chatting, playing board games, and generally just being there for them. They enable our young residents to feel heard, valued, and accepted as well as helping them to feel part of the wider community.
Speaking about the difference chaplaincy made to him, one young resident said:
It gave me the chance to talk to other people in a place I feel comfortable – rather than a random person in a place I don’t know. And thanks to the chaplaincy and the volunteers, I am where I am now.
Click HERE to find out more about the chaplaincy team or how to volunteer.
Every year we support over 10,000 children, young people and their families operating from our centres in Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne, Guildford, Mid Sussex, Hastings, Horsham, Crawley and Worthing. We are the biggest provider of youth services in the South East and work to tackle the root causes of youth homelessness. If you’d like to support our work to transform the lives of young people facing homelessness DONATE HERE. Or, if you would like to offer longer-term support, consider becoming a ROOM SPONSOR and give a vulnerable young person in your community the chance of a brighter future.