This project was born as a result of seeing the size and scale of the need among young people and adolescents for care, understanding and supportive guidance in the community, and a desire to help churches to fill the need and act as an extended family in the community. The Counselling Pastoral Trust was set up to help isolated families to receive care, so that they can grow stronger and supportively connect with others. We currently work with 250 individuals, families and trainees every week. One of the benefits of CPT as a community organisation is that we provide care and change for people who lack the resilience to seek help having tried and failed. The immediate benefits of our work in adults is the turnaround from patterns of instability, dependency, anger/reactivity, addiction and low motivation to fulfilled lives. To expand this work, we are seeking to train more volunteers and professionals who live and work among young people in the community to enable them to be better equipped to face complex difficulties.
We believe that the result of inaction in the community, is far more costly than the cost of action. These statistics are taken from the Children’s Commissioner’s Report on Vulnerability in Children in England (July 2017). The term ‘vulnerable’ is hard to define, the Report included ‘disadvantaged children who would benefit from extra help from public agencies in order to make the best of their life chances,’ children with ‘complex needs’ and those living below the poverty line. In one sense of course, all children are vulnerable. The Children’s Commissioner tried to pin down the number of children who carry with them risks and difficulties which make it much harder for them to succeed in life, to be happy and healthy and have a chance at a good future. The authors stated however, that they could not measure the number of children who are vulnerable in other ways (e.g. children receiving inadequate parenting).
Building on the model of the Church Life Skills programme this project seeks to support churches in being the most accessible point for help and care in the community. This programme will train those who work with or care for children and young people in community settings, techniques which combine nurture, correction, education and guidance, skills normally found in a parenting role, producing strong engagement. This ‘limited re-parenting’ connects in a warm way with children and parents meeting unmet relationship needs in a restorative way.