The Archbishop of Selsey has a particular heart for serving the homeless and addressing the problems that lead to homelessness. As Chair of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action, much of ✠Jerome’s time is spent connecting people and organisations locally to tackle homelessness in the city.
At the end of 2021, across England, more than 274,000 people were without a home, according to research carried out by the charity Shelter, with growing fears of a “rising tide” of evictions due to the increase in cost of living. London is the worst hit city for homelessness, with one in every 53 people without a home. Brighton & Hove has the third largest homeless population in the United Kingdom after London and Luton, with a rate of one in 78 people being homeless, a higher rate than other larger cities like Manchester and Birmingham.
✠Jerome’s interest in homelessness began when he moved to the city of Brighton & Hove in 2007 to plant an Old Roman mission that would later become The Brighton Oratory. He quickly identified a need then and an opportunity for an Old Roman apostolate to support the efforts to alleviate the suffering of homeless people in the city. As a popular seaside resort and with two universities, Brighton is known for its cosmopolitan night life and is a draw for all manner of visitors and tourists enjoying its eclectic mix of shops, entertainment and events. But as with all such distractions, there is another aspect, a downside, where many fall into difficulties, are used or broken by the energy of the city.
In 2009 The Brighton Oratory partnered with the Salvation Army in Brighton to start a weekly homeless drop in offering food, showers, clean clothes and friendly hospitality, later dubbed “The Hub“. Initially as a chaplain available to talk with guests and volunteers, ✠Jerome later employed his earlier training in catering, and took on responsibility for the cooking. In conversation with guests who offered to volunteer in the kitchen, he formed a scheme to help people with previous catering experience or none, to get back into the industry.
Subsequently, in 2013 he founded, “Cherubs Kitchen”, a not-for-profit franchise in partnership with Interserve Learning & Employment and Southdown (Housing Trust and Community Support Work), provided training and employment for those who, often through disadvantaged circumstances, require experience in a professional kitchen to return or continue, or even begin a career in catering. “Cherubs” operated for five years, initially in one then later three hostelry locations in the city, helping some twenty people through work experience back into regular employment, having gained industry relevant qualifications and experience. Sadly, as with many services, “Cherubs” wasn’t able to recover from the COVID19 pandemic.
A priest with a long, wizard-like beard swishes silently around the room, his hands placed together as if in prayer. A gold crucifix swings from his neck and a Bible pokes out from the pocket of his cassock. Gently dropping his head to speak softly into the ear of an elderly gentleman, he says: “I can recommend a cheeky little Rioja with the roast lamb”.“Archbishop of Selsey Jerome Lloyd on helping the ever-increasing number of rough sleepers”, Great British Life Magazine, by Russell Higham
After a decade volunteering himself and with other frontline agencies, ✠Jerome now offers his knowledge with others’ expertise strategizing and developing ways to combat homelessness as well as coordinate the delivery of services to homeless people in the city. He’s a member of various networks and committees who – far from being just a “talking shop” – have brought together groups and organisations committed to not just supporting those who experience homelessness, but also addressing the issues that cause people to become homeless.
The Archbishop is a member of the following associations tackling homelessness:
Brighton & Hove Faith in Action
VCS Homeless & Rough Sleepers Network
Brighton & Hove City Council’s Homelessness Reduction Operational Board
Brighton & Hove City Council’s Equalities Access Workstream
Brighton & Hove City Council’s Community Action Group on Homelessness
Brighton & Hove Street Support Steering Group
East Sussex Homeless Forum
St Martin’s Frontline Network
For an idea of how homelessness is being addressed in Brighton & Hove read a recent report
Brighton & Hove Street Support is a website that lists over a hundred providers and agencies with services both for the prevention of, and assistance with, homelessness. From financial and benefits advice through to food banks, drop ins and activity groups, the website is designed to provide information for both those in need of help and those who would like to help. Street Support is part of a nationwide network pooling together expertise and knowledge from around the country in those places where homelessness is prevalent, enabling networking and cooperation. Brighton & Hove Faith in Action brought together the initial steering group, and oversees the coordination and administration of the partnership.
To help ✠Jerome in his own efforts to assist the homeless…
This year the Archbishop is supporting the emergency night shelter, serving the homeless of the city a hot meal and warm place to stay throughout winter. In addition to thick socks, His Grace is keen to provide necessary items for personal hygiene, toiletries, sanitiser, change of underwear and particularly women’s health items such as sanitary towels and fresh wipes. These items are often overlooked. Funding for such items is seldom available.
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