Curtains, Counselling and Pastoral Care…

Anne’s journey with the Hub all started with some curtains! And now she volunteers with us as a pastoral carer. This is her story…

I’d got some long-standing health issues, so I couldn’t go back to my work in hospitality, which involved lots of running about on my feet. I was finding it really hard not working. I don’t like sitting about doing nothing, but I felt like I couldn’t do volunteering. I can’t sit down for too long because of my back. I felt like my life was slipping away and I couldn’t do anything with it.

One day I’d been to the curtain shop over the road from the Hub and I just walked past the Hub and went in to find out what it was about. After that, I had a chat with Jo-Ann, gave her my details and I got a call verifying that I could start the pastoral care training course, and that was it! The rest is history.

I’d already done a counselling course, up to level 3. And when I worked in hospitality, I learnt a lot about confidentiality. It’s amazing, working on a bar, how many people tell you things! I heard so many stories. Sometimes people would come back and say thank you to me, “You’re a really good listener.”

I found the Hub’s pastoral training course really enjoyable. It taught me about the importance of listening. We can all hear, but we don’t always listen.

I think the Hub is very worthwhile. There are a lot of people who need help and direction, and there are a lot of lonely people. We need to show them they’re not alone by showing them kindness and compassion. Anyone can come into the Hub and they’re treated with the same equality, respect and care.

We’re showing people God’s love. We’re not just paying lip service. We’re actually doing something. That’s what Jesus was preaching when he walked on the earth. It’s about showing compassion in everyday life.

Interview by Ella Green

Read more

“We’re not just meeting needs, we’re offering friendship”

This week, I got to hear from Caroline. She moved to Harrogate with her husband 33 years ago and has been a pastoral carer at the Hub since we first opened. I had a chat with her and found out what makes her pastoral heart tick!  

How did you get involved with the Hub? And why were you interested in volunteering with us?

I think it was probably through my husband Tim – he knows everything that’s going on! He works at St Peter’s in the centre of town. We first met at Lee Abbey Christian conference centre and since then, we’ve always been interested in how churches can work together. Great blessings come from working together and praying with Christians from across denominations. We felt it was the way ahead. The thing I find very encouraging about the Hub is seeing people from different churches in Harrogate meet each other – sometimes they meet people from churches they didn’t even know existed! It’s creating fellowship.

What has been your experience of volunteering at the Hub so far?

We’ve already had quite a few people come in.

Some people walk in before we’re even officially open and then they stay for the entire time. You wonder how long they’d stay if we didn’t have to close.

Several regulars have said it’s an absolute luxury to have a conversation, not just to be listened to, but to have a laugh as well. We’re not just meeting needs, we’re offering friendship.

Have you had experience of pastoral care before?

Yes I used to have a ministry in counselling. My past experience has helped me. I feel prepared for working here. The thing I love is simply being there for someone and giving them the gift of my attention. Compassion is very rewarding.


Interview by Ella Green

Read more

People will see the Hub and they will know us by our love…

Meet Lynda and Andrew! They attend different churches in Harrogate and lead very different lives. But they do have a few things in common… They are both pastoral carers at the Hub. They finished their pastoral training course at the end of March and since then they’ve been volunteering with us.

“We’ve been able to apply what we were taught and we’ve already seen change in the individuals who come in”, explains Andrew. “Some people come into the Hub regularly and it’s great to see the impact it’s making on their lives.” Lynda says,

“I’ve seen the outward appearance of a person change. And they seem brighter, even though they might still be struggling.”

Lynda is experienced in encouraging people in their everyday lives; she runs Women of Faith Today, a programme that equips women and releases them to reach their full potential through training and Christian fellowship. “Helping at the Hub is another way that I can give back to the community, it’s a platform to reach out to more people.”

Andrew got involved in the work of the Hub after hearing a talk by Jo-Ann. “It’s been a complete change from my normal environment, working in retail. I’m used to listening to customers, but this is a different kind of listening.”

Andrew and Lynda, and the other pastoral carers have had time to get to know each other during quieter days at the Hub. Andrew says they’ve really been able to use this time to build relationships. “This means we can support each other.”

“Andrew is a lovely brother to work with”, says Lynda, “He’s an encourager, a very honest human. What you see is what you get. We believe in the same God and when people come in through the doors they can sense that spirit of unity and friendship.”

“We have a laugh”, says Andrew. “Lynda has a really uplifting humour, it’s infectious. The people who come in really benefit from talking to her.”

During their pastoral training, Lynda and Andrew had the chance to meet people from different churches across Harrogate. “We’re building the kingdom together.” explains Lynda. “It’s like that verse, ‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples…’ And that is how people will see the Hub. They will know us by our love.”


Written by Ella Green


Read more