Sprinkling magic in London and Bristol | Explore Relationships
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Sprinkling magic in London and Bristol

Sprinkling magic in London and Bristol

Explore has recently ventured in to two major cities, London and Bristol, with support from Benefact Trust. Their two-year grant has allowed us to fund two new team members, Faye Southey and Ellie Fass-Roads. This transformational project will help us to realise our ambition to significantly extend our reach, enabling us to work with greater numbers of young people and more young people from within disadvantaged communities, to give them a better understanding of what makes a healthy relationship.

We caught up with the two new starters to find out about their first few weeks in post.

Faye says: “To be able to hold a space for young people to explore their ideas around relationships and marriage is such a privilege. I was very aware of the responsibility I held when I stepped into a classroom for the first time to facilitate a session with a group of 16-year-olds about their future and the choices they may wish to make around relationships in their lifetimes.

“I had spent time preparing in the days leading up to my first session, visualised what it may feel like to stand in front of a group of expectant young people, had run through timings in my head to ensure that I would get it right.”

She admits being nervous, but that soon ebbed away with “a sense of peace and quiet joy”.

She knew she would love it but says: “I had not expected the moments of magic that I had witnessed to hit so hard. The moment when an individual opens up and shares, when another asks a bold question that has clearly taken courage to say aloud, when a knowing ‘aha’ look falls across someone’s face as a new way of thinking is opened up to them. Seeing and feeling the small yet significant things fall into place, knowing that it may one day impact someone’s life for the better. That’s the magic. And let me tell you, it’s powerful.”

Ellie had come to the role with plenty of experience, having worked with young people in Bristol for over 15 years in a variety of different roles and projects, including working in schools. But Explore was offering her something different. 

“I was drawn into their youth-led approach and that it seemed to be offering something unique to young people. This project is addressing relationships education in a practical way, particularly in schools, where students are often ‘taught’ but rarely given the opportunity to ask questions freely of people who they will probably never see again in their lifetimes!”.

Ellie is also helping Explore on its own adventure too. “The youth work session was something quite new for the charity, and something that was interesting to try out. I think we learned a lot from running this first session at a youth club and how we may adapt it if we were to deliver more sessions in youth clubs – but I felt that the young people got a lot from it, and the couple found it very insightful too.”

Both have already been touched by the response from the young people. Faye told us that speaking to one of the students after a session, he was keen to share how much it would benefit those he knew in London.

Ellie opens up even more: “My personal experience of seeing a positive romantic relationship when growing up was non-existent. Having witnessed my parents fighting and arguing, a difficult messy divorce and then no other romantic relationship later on, I really had nothing to base my own relationships on, and pretty much had low expectations and certainly no aspirations to get married. I can see the positive message that the Explore sessions are giving to young people; that a relationship can succeed with work, positive communication, trust, honesty, forgiveness – and having a shared sense of humour really helps too.”

We also spoke to Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, who says “We are delighted that our funding is supporting the expansion of this refreshing project, which gives young people an insight into what ‘real’ relationships look like, and the chance to ask questions they don’t feel comfortable discussing with parents or teachers.”

We are delighted ourselves and look forward to supporting Faye and Ellie as they reach out to more young people in London and Bristol to help them find healthy relationships for themselves.

About the Benefact Trust

Benefact Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities. The Trust’s grants further its charitable objectives of promoting the Christian faith and other charitable causes. Its funds are largely derived from ownership of the Benefact Group – a specialist financial services organisation. Since its foundation in 1972, The Trust has awarded over £235m in grants – £100m in the last 5 years. Applications are welcomed from all parts of the UK and Ireland, particularly from areas of social and economic deprivation.

Benefact Trust funds projects that tackle issues such as homelessness, poverty and social exclusion. The repair, restoration and wider community use of churches and cathedrals of all denominations is also supported.

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