Portsmouth Deanery Youth Chaplaincy
The Youth Chaplaincy is a Portsmouth Deanery pioneer ministry project. We offer the light of Christ to all who need us within the settings that we work. With our listening ear we have been able to support schools and colleges through very challenging times and we consider this a great privilege.
The purpose of the project is to support the wellbeing of staff and pupils of secondary schools and FE colleges across the city. Since the pandemic began there have been some changes to how we work. As secondary schools had to close their doors to all visitors and volunteers it has given us some time to reflect on what the chaplaincy can now offer to schools, this is still a work in progress. We have also noticed what has grown during the difficult months we have all been through.
Our presence in FE colleges has continued and the counselling part of the project has grown so much that we have a presence on three of the FE sites of the newly formed City of Portsmouth College. We are now supporting more counsellors in training than before the pandemic and so able to offer many more free counselling sessions to young people, which is wonderful.
Prior to the pandemic the Reading Resilience volunteers won an award for their work in supporting the reading program at Mayfield School. We won the award for the Community Engagement category.
- Youth Chaplaincy Coordinator: Rev Sam Duddles
I am the Youth Chaplaincy coordinator and I continue to support Paul Whitelock in his role as counselling development worker. I support the staff and pupils at Charter Academy and the City of Portsmouth College. I visit these setting weekly to be available to listen and share stories. I am the Team Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Copnor, and it is my spiritual home. We have started a coffee morning for the local community where. There is always cake and warm welcome a Tuesday morning for anyone who would like to visit. My work in education in Portsmouth is very special as I the chair for the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education and we monitor the quality of RE in schools across the city, this work also involves working with inter faith colleagues and learning from them to support our work together.
- Counselling Development Worker: Paul Whitelock
As Rev Sam says I am the counselling development worker within the project. Whilst undergoing my training as a counsellor back in the mid 1990’s I undertook my placement with Off The Record, a voluntary charity which offered (and continue to offer) counselling to young people. Young people became my counselling niche! I spent 9 years working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as a community therapist in Southampton, working closely with educational establishments there. I “retired” in 2013, and since then have worked closely, initially, with Portsmouth College as was then, as a volunteer, becoming employed by the project in April 2018. I was instrumental in setting up a “counselling team” there consisting of myself and three counsellors in training as part of their placements. I have a qualification in Counselling Supervision so, in addition to the counselling I offer, I supervise those counsellors as part of the project. In the last year I have been able to replicate the service at Highbury College and as Rev Sam says the colleges have merged to form City of Portsmouth College. I have also offered a counselling provision on the Arundel Street site of the college.
In addition, I am also employed by the College to teach Counselling Skills at Levels 2 and 3.
I am a member of the Association of Christian Counsellors. Whilst having a Christian faith it is a privilege to support students (and staff) in the College, whether they have a faith or none, and to provide this to them free of charge “at the point of delivery.”
Through the project, the City of Portsmouth College is currently offered 24 hours of counselling a week across the three sites I have mentioned above. The only substantial site at the College not covered by our service is the North Harbour Site. That is something I hope to develop in the next few years.