South West Community Chaplaincy
Exeter CoLab is a buzzing home to several organisations working to support people facing complex social issues. As a central hub, it allows those in the community to access multiple services related to homelessness, addiction, offending and health inequality.
One resident is South West Community Chaplaincy, a charity that supports people in prison and post-release to overcome barriers to issues including housing and employment. This enables them to break the cycle of reoffending and successfully rebuild their lives.
South West Community Chaplaincy is now benefiting from its third core costs grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation, which is for £75,000. Managing Community Chaplain Cathy Jerrard says:
‘The length of our grant is amazing; most funding is much shorter. Though it’s a core costs grant, its benefit has been so much wider, because having it for a long time means we can really plan ahead, try new things and think about the other services we can offer.’
Cathy believes the relationship between herself, the charity and Clare Rance, the Grant Manager for the South West, is ‘one of the best things about Lloyds Bank Foundation’:
‘Clare has worked with us from the outset, helping us think about what we need and what we want to apply for, and she’s guided us through the process. There’s something special about that relationship. I know if there’s any issue, I can just ask Clare, pop it in an email or give her a call.’
Client Dougie has been supported by the charity for more than two years. He requested a meeting with Chaplain Ian Cockram whilst in prison because he had been homeless and had heard Ian could help with housing upon release. However, he says he has benefited more than he hoped he would:
‘I grew up in a rough area. I thought violence was normal and as a career criminal, I viewed prison as an occupational hazard. I didn’t see any other options.
‘But Ian helped me get out of that revolving door, and when I wake up now, I decide to be happy and positive. I’m doing some volunteering now and my life is on track for the first time.
‘I just needed someone to pull me back from the brink.’
Cathy says ‘the brilliant thing about Lloyds Bank Foundation is not only the financial support but the developmental support they offer’:
‘We’ve participated in forums with CEOs of other charities and we worked with a consultant to improve our fundraising work.’
However, she says ‘the best support we’ve had are our ‘Lloyds Charity Mentors, Innes Hall and Nick Magee.’ Innes, a Business Development Director at Lloyds Banking Group, has been mentoring Cathy for 18 months. He says:
‘I think we often forget or undervalue the skills we have; I wasn’t sure what I could offer at first, but not only have I learnt how charities work and the issues they’re facing, I’ve also seen how my skills can help meet some of those challenges.’
Innes has also learnt from Cathy:
‘She has so much experience and I’ve learnt a lot from her about different ways of doing things, which has made me stop and think in my day job about what we’re doing and how.’
Nick, a Strategy & Business Redesign Manager, overheard Innes talking about mentoring and asked if he could get on board. He, too, has benefitted in his day job:
‘For me it was about helping people. What’s great is that Lloyds supports you to do it! The benefit to my work is clear – weeks after working on one of Cathy’s projects, I’ll be talking to someone else and something we discussed or learnt from that session comes to me and impacts my work.
‘I think being a mentor and being involved in this great charity has made me a more well-rounded colleague and person. It’s given me another perspective and another string to my bow.’
The benefits to South West Community Chaplaincy have far exceeded Cathy’s initial expectations:
‘Nick and Innes have involved other departments within the bank. For example, Sophia from branding has been helping us think about upgrading our approach to communications.
‘Having a Lloyds mentor is about having someone to talk with, and they have all this knowledge and experience that we can tap into. It’s invaluable.’