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Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice

Seeing a New Future - Community Chaplaincy and Desistance

Community Chaplaincy and Desistance: Seeing a New Future reports a study undertaken by Dr Jane Dominey and Dr Elizabeth Lowson at the CCGSJ for the Community Chaplaincy Association

The findings of the study include:

o The community chaplaincy ethos is expressed in practice that sees the intrinsic worth of each individual, is prepared to persevere, and remains committed to the possibility of future flourishing. This ethos is underpinned, for community chaplaincy, by the faith-based foundation of each organisation.

o Service users describe relationships with staff and volunteers that are genuine, helpful, reciprocal and caring; they compare these relationships favourably with those built with workers at other agencies. Personal and professional boundaries in community chaplaincy are not straightforward; for example, mentoring relationships are not friendships, but they are often experienced as ‘like friendships’.

o Key factors in the approach taken by community chaplaincy are the nature of the relationships that develop between service users, staff and volunteers, the broad range of practical help on offer, and the values that underpin the delivery of the service.

o The community chaplaincy approach is consistent with existing ideas about desistance focussed practice and service users describe how community chaplaincy helps them to move forward, keep out of trouble and see a new future.

The research identifies a number of good practice principles for the development of this work.