Listening, laughing and loving at the Harrogate Hub

This is Laurel, “Our ray of sunshine at the Hub”, as Anne describes her. “She has an infectious laugh and she always puts a smile on your face!”

Laurel and Anne are both pastoral carers at the Hub. Every week, Laurel also brings us lovely flowers, which brighten up the place and make it feel like home for our visitors.

I had a chat with Laurel about her experience at the Hub. (And you can check out Anne’s story here.)

How did you get involved in the work of the Hub?

Jo-Ann came to our church and spoke about the Harrogate Hub. I had a heart for this kind of thing. I used to run another ministry, giving out food, furniture, clothes and books. And I wanted to get involved in something similar. I also had previous experience of pastoral care from church.

What did you learn from the pastoral care training course?

So many things stood out, especially the prayer, and learning how we relate to people. I learnt that we show how much we care for people mostly by listening. The course taught me to listen more. When you’re a mum, you sometimes butt in when your children are talking! But it taught me to take note and listen, to assess the situation and to make the person feel at ease.

Why do you think Harrogate needs a Hub?

I think there are a lot of lonely people about in Harrogate. There’s a veneer. People think it’s a rich place, but there’s a lot of poverty here. I see it at the foodbank.

What kinds of needs have you seen since volunteering at the Hub?

There’s a common denominator. There’s a need to be listened to and loved.

What would you say to someone who was considering visiting the Hub?

I would say ‘Come in! It’s warm. It’s cosy. And most of all, we’re here for you.’


Interview by Ella Green

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Introducing ‘Heal’… our new business partner

We have an exciting announcement to make – we now have one of our first business partners!

Some of you may have already heard about our 20:20 campaign. We launched this campaign in June to encourage the local community to invest in our work and to join us in our vision. As part of this campaign, we are looking for 20 local businesses to give £2000 yearly and Heal is one of the first businesses to partner with us.

Heal is a medical-based beauty spa in Harrogate’s Montpellier Quarter, founded by Oliver Highland-Edmonds, who is also Heal’s Senior Podiatrist. Having worked with the NHS for ten years, Oliver decided to make the move into private practice. “People enjoy beauty treatments, but medical care is very functional and utilitarian. People often don’t turn up to appointments. But there’s no reason why medical care has to be this way.”

Oliver has spent the last two years merging these two areas together. Heal offers a unique blend of medical treatments and beauty therapies, all under one roof. Heal maintains the highest clinical standards and uses evidence based-practice, but also provides a personal, more luxurious touch, providing a pleasurable experience for clients.

Heal is now partnering with the Harrogate Hub and raising funds to support our work. Heal is already planning an amazing fundraising project, so watch this space!

Heal shares the Harrogate Hub’s holistic approach to wellbeing, and like the Hub, the business also aims to make a difference in the community. “We don’t want to be another company that just takes from community”, explains Oliver.

Heal are a living wage employer, they invest in the education of their employees, they give back to their clients through a devotee scheme, and they use ethical, environmentally-friendly products.

This Autumn, Oliver is planning a project to provide free hair and foot care for homeless people in Harrogate. The Hub is facilitating this through linking Heal with one of our church partners. We’ll be sharing more about this soon.

We’re really looking forward to working with Heal, along with other businesses that share our heart to show love to our community. We’re uniting businesses, charities, churches and individuals to work together, so we can make Harrogate a healthier, happier, more caring community.

If you work for or run a local business and would like to find out how your business could get involved, please do get in touch at We’d love to hear from you. 


Written by Ella Green

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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

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“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

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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


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Why do you come to the Harrogate Hub?

“I come to the Hub mainly for the company, to get out of the house and talk things through. It’s good getting to know other people. It was a bit nerve-wrecking coming in the first time, but it’s helped my mood and boosted my confidence. It’s helped me a lot.”


We want to help many more people like Lucy. Can you join with us to make Harrogate a more caring community? Here’s some super simple ways you can help:

Harrogate Hub posters and volunteers

1. Help us distribute our posters.

We have LOTS and lots of new snazzy posters! Could you ask to put one in your workplace, your local supermarket community board, GP surgery, or hairdressers? We also have leaflets and bookmarks if you need something a little smaller. Help us spread the word. We want everyone to know there’s somewhere to turn. We’re here to listen and support anyone who is struggling in Harrogate.

2. Invite your friends to follow us on facebook, instagram or twitter.

It only takes a few clicks!

3. Invite us to speak at your church or community group.

We love to share about our work with the community.

4. Volunteer

Are you a good listener? Do you like cleaning? Perhaps you have experience in fundraising? Or maybe you could help in some other way. Check out our volunteering roles here.

5. Pray

If you are someone who prays, please join with us in praying for our town; for those who are suffering in poverty, isolation, and addiction. You can join us for prayer meetings at the Hub on Thursdays, 12.00-1.00pm.

6. Give

The Harrogate Hub is all about restoring and building community. We’re looking for people who want to invest in our community. That’s why we’ve launched our 20:20 campaign. We’re seeking:

20 local churches to give £1000 yearly

20 local businesses to give £2000 yearly

20 x 20 individuals to give £10 monthly

20 Trust funds to support specific projects

Could you be one of those individuals? Or do you think your church or business might be interested in partnering with us? You can donate here.

Thank you to everyone who is already part of making our vision a reality. We love working together with you to show love to our Harrogate community.

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The Power in a Story

Meet Kay. She is one of our dedicated pastoral carers at the Hub, and she also knows what it is to be at the receiving end of support. The Hub is a place where everyone supports each other, because no one is immune to suffering. Everyone needs to be loved and cared for. And this is Kay’s story…

Before I came to the Harrogate Hub, I was at a point where I had lots of questions about what I should do next. I had heard about the Hub, so I decided to do the pastoral training course. I’ve had to counsel people before as a coach and teacher, and I’ve had a huge amount of counselling myself, because of my cancer.

If I hadn’t had that pastoral care from my church, I wouldn’t have survived my experience. From seeing people I know suffer alone, I am very aware of what a lack of support can do to you. So many people out there need care.

I’ve lived with cancer since 2005 and this is the third time it’s come back. When I found out, I had just got married and it was a massive shock to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was in a pit of depression. I didn’t feel anything at all – no emotion – I felt dead. People at the Hub and my church kept coming with the support. They refused to let go of me when I felt far from God. It would have been easy for them to let me go, but they didn’t.

The Hub was somewhere I could come and it was amazing how I could help people thorough my own experience. It was such a blessing to be able to relate to people, because suffering was something that was so real and so close to me. My words of comfort actually meant something to people.

Personal experience is so valuable. Now I refuse to let go of the people who come to the Hub. I refuse to accept that they have no meaning or self-worth.

I am sitting here today having come out the other end. I can tell you my story.


For more stories, check out this post.

Interview by Ella Green


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Discovering the hidden needs of Harrogate

Meet Vernon, he is our pastor at the Harrogate Hub….

Harrogate Hub PastorThis week I got to hear some of his story and find out about his experience of life in Harrogate.

He left America to come to England in 1980 with his family. “I had no money for a plane ticket. I had to sell our things, even bits of pipe from our basement, which I took to the scrapstore! But when I got to England, God opened up a lot of doors for me.” Vernon ended up helping at the chapel of an American military base, and he eventually got ordained.

Many years later, and he’s now volunteering at the Harrogate Hub. He bumped into Executive Director, Jo-Ann, at a meeting in February last year. And in suitably Harrogatian fashion, they met up again at Betty’s to have a chat. “I invited Jo-Ann to speak about the Hub at our church. Then I went on the Hub pastoral training course and some time later Jo-Ann asked the question, ‘Will you be the pastor of the Hub?’”

Vernon said yes and he’s now in the Hub several days a week, listening and supporting the people who come through the doors.

“Harrogate has everything, but it didn’t have a christian centre. I wanted to get involved with the Hub, because it’s non-denominational and it’s reaching out to help people.”

“People underestimate the needs of Harrogate. People outside the town often think there’s no need in Harrogate, but I’ve been pastoring here since 1995 and there is a lot of need. There are people with addictions and people who are homeless.”

Interestingly, Vernon didn’t even really realise loneliness was an issue in Harrogate until he started volunteering at the Hub. It’s not something people talk about very often. “This befriending service was a new idea to me. Loneliness wasn’t something I had thought about much. Now I’m at the Hub, I’m surprised by all the people who come in. They just need someone to talk to, a good listener, someone who can sympathise.’

“A man came into the Hub yesterday, and he felt lighter when he left here. As a pastoral carer, you have to listen to people. And you have to listen to what God puts on your heart. A lot of the time, people’s issues are emotional and you need God’s wisdom to say the right things. You want people to know that they have a purpose.”

Could you help us meet the hidden needs of Harrogate?

We want to extend our opening hours to reach out to many more lonely, isolated people in our community. We’re looking for 400 people to give £10 a month to help us reach our fundraising target, so we can continue to support those who need it most.

Check out our 20:20 campaign for more details.

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Now Open!
Dear Friends and Family of The Harrogate Hub,
Thank you for supporting our Hub January 2017 launch!New friendships were made as we opened our doors on Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th and Saturday 28thJanuary.The photographs speak of new friendships forged. Faces show joy and agreement, sharing the vision of the Hub:
  • No one in Harrogate should feel left out, unloved or uncared for
  • No one should feel life is hopeless or purposeless
  • No one should be lonely or socially isolated

Pastoral Carers are available at the Hub to give time to listen and signpost to appropriate specialists. Recruited from amongst the Christian Churches in Harrogate the pastoral carers choose to serve their community showing compassion, love and support fuelled by their faith in God.

The trustees wish to give special thanks to Councilor Nick Brown, Mayor of Harrogate for attending the Launch event. Mayor Nick Brown praised the Hub vision offering his support and blessings for its success. Bishop James called in on Saturday giving his blessing too. We were very pleased to see many partners and friends in the fight to end isolation and loneliness.

Thank you to all the volunteers who made the event possible: Mrs. Elaine Rogers, Mrs. Chris Holland, Mrs. Kay Kendall and Mr. Malcolm Peters.

Huge thanks also go to our neighbours who sponsored the events: Tesco’s, Jamie Oliver’s, The Revolucion de Cuban, Deano’s Graze and Grill, Mama Doreen’s Emporium, Betty’s, Four Seasons Flowers, Mrs. Chris Rogers for baking the cakes and Mr. Steve Rogers for the Buck’s Fizz!

We are greatly blessed by their generosity. Thank you!

Jesus came to serve and not to be served.
At the Hub, we can give time to listen and respond. If you would like to serve your community in this way we are currently seeking volunteers to serve in pastoral care. We have a second group in training and are looking to train a third group in March.

I would also love to hear from anyone who can write funding bids; we have to raise funds to keep going!

Matthew 20:28
“… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The more people who come forward to serve through the Hub, the more hours the Hub can be opened to people seeking support.

If you would like to be a welcomer or a cleaner we would welcome you!

Please get in touch at
or ring 01423 369393 for an appointment.



Please forward this newsletter to family and friends and please subscribe on line by opening the newsletter in your browser and clicking on the subscribe link.

You will also be able to donate through the Hub website soon! And please don’t forget to pray for the Hub and its mission!

Blessings and love.
Jo-Ann Hughes

Harrogate Hub Executive Director

Email me:

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Autumn Newsletter

Harrogate Hub Newsletter Autumn 2016

Dear Friends and Family of The Harrogate Hub,

Many of you are asking, ‘When is the Hub opening?’

The Hub Building - Giving Thanks!

It is a year since Lord Carey spoke of the Hub at the AGM of Churches Together. 
At that stage the building was being purchased and the registration for charity status
was being completed. One woman’s efforts saw these things completed by January this
year and in February the Executive Director was appointed to make the vision a

We have moved the vision forward as we now have:
* a warm, comfortable and inviting building in the centre of town
* a building equipped with full disability access to the ground and first floors
* a fully functioning office or ‘power room’ in which to create the business model –
‘it feels so good to get out of my kitchen!’ says the Director.
* recruited and trained our first team of 8 pastoral carers and appointed Chris
Holland as the Pastoral Care Coordinator
* an Operations Team who help with the administration of the Hub, the finance and
funding applications
* a cleaner – Mary – who keeps our building clean and tidy – Huge blessings Mary! Mary
has asked for someone to help her with the cleaning as a three story building really
needs a team!
* new Trustees who strengthen the Hub with their business experience. We welcomed
Martin Woodroofe an experienced trustee of a national charity and recently retired HR
executive, Rev. Andy Patrick, vicar of St Luke’s and Andrew Grey a solicitor in the
town centre
* a worship team in place who meet twice a week for study and intercession. 
Scripture and prayer have formed the foundations of the Hub from the very beginning
* Pastor Vernon Roosevelt has graciously accepted the role of Pastor of the Hub
helping to support the Director and her team of volunteers who are generously giving
of their time and expertise on a regular basis
* a vibrant website for you to engage with us more proactively. Huge thank you to the
Website/Publicity Manager, Janet who now has a professional freelance photographer
join the team. Phil will journal the journey of the Hub through visual imagery. Such a
blessing to have professionals leading on visual media! And a relief…

If you would like to share your expertise in developing the movement of
mission at the Hub please look on the website for opportunities to get involved. We
would love to hear from you.

Harrogate Community Research

The Hub engaged consultants (through a Stronger Communities NYCC grant) to research
into the areas of unmet need in Harrogate; needs that were highlighted in the Minding
the Gaps Report 2014.


Mental ill health - Around 6000 people in Harrogate are struggling with issues of
mental ill health. The Hub is invited to find a place within the community to support
public and charitable services seeking to help alleviate some of the suffering due to
mental illness.

Young people - 6,800 young
people under 19’s in Harrogate area are estimated to currently need some support from
a professional other than a trained mental health worker, e.g. school nurse, teacher,
youth worker. Source: NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG Transformation Plan for
Children and Young People’s Emotional and Mental Health 2015-2020

According to local youth workers issues of low self-esteem face 2/3rds of our young 
people. Youth pastors across the town are coming together at the Hub to plan 
strategically how to pool resources and engage more proactively with young people. 
Please get involved.

The Hub is looking to train a team of pastoral carers to specialize in young people’s 

Loneliness and social isolation
We only have to read the Harrogate Advertiser to see the needs within our town and the 
services that are joining together to help address the issues of social isolation and 
loneliness. The Hub is investigating how it can get involved with this campaign.

But remember the Hub can only be as effective as the people who are willing to come 
together to make a difference.

Your church needs you! 
Your community needs you! Your town needs you! Your Hub needs you!

So when is the Hub opening? I hear you cry!
With a fully equipped building, a smashing team of people and hearts full of the love 
of God we open our doors in January 2017.

It is important to realise that we will be open at certain times of the week depending 
on the availability of the volunteers. With Pastoral Care Team 1 we will be open for a 
few sessions per week until Team 2 are trained and we can open for a few more hours. 
Over the year, as we recruit and train more teams, we will be open more until we are 
fully staffed and our doors remain open all week! This can only happen if you come 
forward and join in.

Thank you for journeying with us during 2016. We hope that you will want to engage 
with us more proactively in 2017 as we see people in our community given a safe space 
to share their stories and receive the grace and compassion they need.

As one trustee wrote:

The Hub is:

- a place of HOPE for our community
- a place of healing and forgiveness
- gives itself to works of Justice
- offers a place of safety and restoration
- Church unity in action
- The blessings of Jesus poured out for all
- to witness God's love through the healing action of others
- a KEY STONE of our town

Please forward this newsletter to your network of family and friends. Thank you.
Peace be with you.
Jo-Ann Hughes
Harrogate Hub Executive Director
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