Transforming Lives for Good

The Box of Hope Story

Following the success of previous years, Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) are relaunching their emergency care package project, Box of Hope, this winter. Read more or get involved via the TLG website.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the UK, TLG was incredibly concerned about children and families going into isolation without basic necessities. With so many families desperately struggling long before the pandemic hit and many more struggling as a result, it was vital that we stepped up to reach those in need.

Box of Hope was our response right at the beginning of the pandemic. Every parcel contains food supplies for the whole family, essential household items, activities and wellbeing resources, information on other support and messages of hope from our supporters.

We have partnered with 244 churches so far to deliver Box of Hope across the UK, churches who lovingly sought to bless their communities and impact those who need it most.

Together, we’ve reached thousands of families! Box of Hope has been a lifeline for many, providing essential support both practically and emotionally.

Frontier Youth Trust – Resources and upcoming events

Hi Friends

Here’s a link to download Seeds of Resistance – a short PDF publication of learning and ideas on the theme of ’slow youth work’

Seed of Resistance

Across the FYT movement we have been exploring the theme of going ’slow’ in working with young people – including looking after ourselves, being focused on relationships, thinking about pace and longevity, and having the time to respond to the real issues of the margins. This ‘zine’ is a culmination of those discussions including articles from youth workers around the FYT community. I would really welcome some feedback on both form and content.

Two more things on the theme of SLOW….

We’re having a RESTIVAL (28th-29th January 2022): a 24hr retreat and rest-space for youth workers and volunteers connected with FYT. Put the date in your diary now. We’ve booked a beautiful retreat house in Warwickshire. £70pp in a single/twin rooms, meals included. We have 25 spaces. Make space to go slow. Email to register your interest.

And we’re staging a RESISTANCE at the National Youth Ministry Weekend (Nov 12th-14th) – an AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBITION to inspire Youth Workers to take a different look at youth ministry. Using decoder glasses visitors will explore two counter-narratives of how to approach working with young people – inviting delegates at the YouthScape weekend to join the resistance!

PLUS one more date for your diary: BEYOND THE CHURCH YOUTH WORK TRAINING

A new 4-module online training course for youth workers and volunteers on mission with young people in the community. Running Monday nights Feb-May 2022 (w. flexible options), we are recruiting for our pilot cohort. For more information, email Sign up for one or all modules (£75/£285).

Module dates
Reflective Practice – Week beginning 31st Jan & 14th Feb
Local Theology – Week beginning 28th Feb & 14th Mar
Diversity & Inclusion – Week beginning 4th Apr & 18th Apr
Youth Culture – Week beginning 2nd May & 16th May

We trust you are well.
Big Love
John, Dylan & Lauren (FYT Leadership Team)

A film to watch

Nomadland – Frances McDormand

Film about gig economy worker

I recently watched a film with my son called Nomadland. He always reviews films as it is his passion, so here is Caleb Barron’s review of Nomadland.

I’m going to put aside the production of this film. Many reviews here take real issue with this film because it is a vehicle for a very wealthy Frances Mcdormand to her stardom with make-believe amongst genuine nomads without their knowledge .There is also, of course, the issue of the depiction of Amazon.

I put these, and other related issues, aside because this film isn’t about the true impact of the recession and the aftermath of 2008. If it were, it would be a toothless and useless attempt at an authentic take on that. What this film is is a careful meditation on grief and living a transient life. It achieves this very well.

The film is necessarily slow and yet never holds in one place for very long. It manages to balance this need to amble slowly through each moment whilst never staying still or lingering. This way, it’s able to create in its form something that is meditative whilst feeling nomadic.

There are moments in which scenes and moments and characters begin to layer on top of each other, supported by a pleasant score, and the film begins to reach for a visual poetry that will transcend itself. However, its transient nature makes it impossible for this ever to be fully achieved. That doesn’t make those sequences weak though. There are powerful moments that caught me by surprise, though these are driven entirely by the real nomads that we meet.

If you’re looking for an authentic exploration of the fallout from 2008 or even the closing of Empire in 2011, a documentary would have been far more satisfactory. If you’re looking for an authentic exploration of these nomads and their lives, I imagine the book is much more impactful and truthful. However, this film is a beautiful, and gentle, vision of living with grief and living transiently. As a viewer, this was more than enough for me to enjoy.’

You can view the trailer on

Sara Barron


How about an interesting read?

Barbara Glasson – I am Somewhere Else (Gospel Reflections from an Emerging Church)

Barbara Glasson

I know I am probably behind the times as this book was published in 2006 however, I have been reading it with a friend recently. Right from the introduction I felt drawn in from both Barbara’s easy to read style and to the deep reflective telling of the story of ‘Bread Church’. The book draws on the journey taken by an eclectic group of people all seeking something, all gathering glimpses of God.

As Barbara uses the processes of bread making to look deeply at the Gospel message we share in with others and how it moves us all. I have been have had some of my thoughts expressed and questions held I am thoroughly enjoying the book and recommend it.

Sara Barron


Much more than just a school

Park Community School


Last week I attended just some of the amazing sessions at the Food Power Festival. So many people, churches and groups are finding innovative and yet simple ways to support those suffering food poverty. Looking for good examples where dignity and solidarity are paramount. This is the story of a journey to love and support estate life born out of collaboration.

Park Community School is based in a ward that is in the top 10% deprivation areas and has been for a very long time. Our students are 98% white British and parent’s majority working class. The ethos of our school is ‘Much More Than Just a School’ which means that whilst we will do everything we can for students to achieve the right number of GCSEs we also offer wide ranging opportunities many of them off site. We will shortly be returning, after Covid restrictions are lifted, to being open till 10pm at night and a minimum of 9-6pm at weekends throughout the year, we even open on Christmas Day.

What I want to write about is how partners can aid community cohesion, parental and student buy in to what you are trying to achieve as an educational establishment. One initiative that made significant difference to us and everyone they linked with was called PO9 Pioneers.

Park Community School
A community school initiative for children and young people


he Churches in the area combined to create two posts and they were called PO9 Pioneers. The background of these two individuals was that they were Baptist Ministers. When I was introduced during our first conversation I was concerned that this was going to be about introducing those they were helping to religion.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong. They brought care, compassion, empathy, counselling, support in many guises, signposting, new ideas and links to those in our community we found as a school hard to engage with.

To read the full summary of how Park Community School benefitted from using PO9 Pioneers to reach the community download this PDF:

Please contact me for further information at

Susan Parish

Who’s who @NECN introducing Lynne Norman

Lynne Norman


My earliest memories of my formative years are mostly of those from the 1980s, when my family lived on Malvern Avenue, part of an estate on the borders between Hapton and Padiham in Lancashire. A quick search on Google Streetview shows me that our old family home is still standing – although the estate is looking much more manicured than it ever did in my childhood. I wonder if it is still all social housing or if there are more privately owned homes there now? The playpark, which was situated directly across from our front door, is also still there (although, again, looking much less like the death-trap it was in the 80s) as is the plentiful greenbelt that surrounds the estate, something I took for granted as a kid! I now appreciate that not every child living on an estate has the luxury of running wild on a field when the horse trials aren’t taking place.

The estate included accommodation for senior citizens and my mum served as their warden – visiting them twice a day on her ‘rounds’ and being on-call 24/7 via an intercom that was positioned in our living room. On school holidays my brother and I would sometimes go on the rounds with her, primarily enticed by the promise of sweets (one of her service users always had Quality Street – an absolute decadence that our family only purchased at Christmas) but also I think we both enjoyed the fact that we had so many adopted grandparents to make a fuss of us and ask us about school. I think this experience has definitely stayed with me and inspires a passion for intergenerational ministry in the Church to this day.

My brother and I attended the village’s tiny Church of England/Methodist Primary School, which meant journeying everyday up the steep hill into the ‘posh’ part of the village. We often received some gentle teasing from schoolmates for living in ‘Legoland’ (the imaginative name given to the estate due to the not-so-attractive pebble dashing on the houses) but I don’t remember minding too much, because the estate was a fun place to live. There was a significant number of families living on the estate and we all called the other children’s parents ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’. Childcare was shared and there was a palpable sense of community, whether it be the regular raids on my mum’s kitchen once she’d done a bit of home baking, a whole gang of us working together to chase down a neighbour’s escaped dog or my friend’s dad giving me a lift to Brownie’s on the back of his motorbike when my dad had to work late. My memories of that time all feel rather wonderful, viewed through the rose-tinted glasses of childhood – I wonder what it felt like for the adults around us?

As I approached my tenth birthday lots of things changed rather rapidly, my baby sister was born, my dad got a new job in a different town and my parents ventured into the scary world of mortgages and home ownership. It took me ages to forgive my parents for uprooting me from the estate I loved – although I now appreciate the enormous sacrifices they made in order to give us a bigger home for the expanding family. Even after the move and the new house we weren’t – by any means – a wealthy family. I did manage to go to university through a combination of government grants (I am very grateful they were – only just – still a thing when I applied), student loans and saving up my part-time earnings.

I really like the expression “muddle class”, coined by the comedian Jason Manford, to articulate who I am today. I would not change my upbringing one iota – the hard work (of both my family and me) that went into getting to where I am today makes me appreciate it all the more. And, as much as I enjoy a nice meal out somewhere, I’d readily swap it any day for a bowl of my mum’s corned beef hash (her go-to when money was getting tight – it could feed us for days!). Most importantly, my roots as a council estate kid inspire me in my youth work and I have a special love of those young people who are often overlooked or written off because of where they live. I currently do volunteer youth work for a local free church, working with teenagers from a large estate in the town I now live in, and I love every second of it. I’m proud to be a small part of the NECN movement.


Across the country, there are many who have just had to keep going…and it won’t be until they are finally able to pause, that the full extent of the damage done in their lives will become apparent.

Four years on, I know that God has restored my soul in so many beautiful ways, but I still have flashbacks and sometimes experience times of intense anxiety.  I am still on the journey towards integrating my experiences into my own story and learning to live out a new normal. Many in our country have experienced some kind of trauma during this pandemic and they too are going to need time, significant time, to process and integrate all that they have seen or felt or heard.

I believe that the church is in an amazing position to respond to the needs of
those in our nation who need to be restored at this time. We know that Jesus is
the One who can bring hope, healing and peace. And we have a God who is able
to do more than we could ever hope or imagine: He can restore my soul and

restore is simply a way to equip churches and others to facilitate this restoration in their own communities. It is a work in progress and I offer it as a starting point.

restore: Who’s it for?

Lucy is a nurse. Usually, she works on the orthopaedics ward, but since the start of the Covid pandemic, she has been working every shift in the ICU unit, nursing very sick patients. She has had to gain new skills very fast in a high-pressure situation…and she has seen some patients die. Lucy has always loved nursing, but nothing could have prepared her for her experiences over the last year and now she’s weary…

Steve is in his 50s and before Covid he worked in a restaurant, but, despite everyone’s best efforts, the business folded and now he faces unemployment. What’s he going to do? How’s he going to cope financially? Steve is trying to be positive, but underneath, the anxiety is gnawing away at him…

Aisha is 17 and working hard at school for her GCSEs, whatever they’re going to look like. It’s been such a tough year. She’s only been in school half the time and there have been weeks of isolation at home, with nothing but a screen to connect her with her friends. She’s back at school now but she just feels really down…

restore aims to be a safe, gently welcoming space in the lives of people who are weary and damaged and at the end of themselves.


The restore space has been designed by Jane Crook who is training to be a priest in the Church of England.

If you would like further details about how to run a restore session please download the PDF below:

Restore NECN

Wanted Team Rector in South East London

Diocese of Southwark Logo

The Catford (Southend) Team Ministry has a flourishing and varied church life across four churches in a large area of South East London located between Catford and Bromley.

The Catford and Downham Team, a large and diverse interwar estate parish (in the top 7% most deprived parishes according to CUF IMD), in South East London is looking for a new Team Rector.
If you are passionate about leading a team of lay and ordained colleagues from a broad variety of backgrounds and church traditions to share the Good News of Jesus and serve the community, this might be the place God is calling you.
Further details can be found on:
Closing date: 9th June.