Chaplaincy is a nationwide phenomenon of churches cooperating to reach out to their local communities by listening to people in daily life at work and at leisure, caring about their problems and reasons for celebration. Chaplaincy services are provided to people of all faiths and none. Chaplains are independent of the organisations they visit, adding value by attending to people’s emotional and spiritual well-being, which reduces absenteeism and workplace stress, and improves staff satisfaction, retention, and productivity (www.workplacechaplaincyuk.org.uk).
There are currently 33 members of the Alliance of Town & City Centre Chaplaincies. Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy is one of the longest established projects, having been set up in 2003, and employing its first Lead Chaplain in 2004. We’re a registered charity, resourced through funding, volunteers and prayer support from a diverse range of churches across Watford and surrounding areas. intu Watford’s anchor store John Lewis has had a WTCC Chaplain for many years and our Street Angels are a common sight out and about overnight at the weekends.
Derby City Centre Chaplaincy asked the Manager of intu Derby a few years ago about the value of chaplaincy and she responded:
“Several thousand people are employed in our stores and with 25 million customers coming through our doors every year, this gives us a really good handle on the diverse challenges that are facing the intu community and the people that we serve. We lead increasingly fast paced lives that come with growing demands on all of us. We talk about a healthy work life balance but sometimes that is not easy to achieve, so when it gets too much, just being able to talk things through with somebody who is impartial often helps put things into perspective. That is where I see the chaplaincy service coming into its own, with chaplains who are there when you need them, a confidential support service that can offer that vital listening ear just when you need it. It’s a great service and we really welcome it.”
The Manager of Boots at Bluewater has said of the chaplaincy service there:
“We employ around 300 colleagues and one of the things the chaplaincy service offers is someone who comes into the store on a regular basis and is able to talk to colleagues, and it gives them an opportunity to discuss some issues that may be on their minds and a lot of our colleagues have used this service. I think it’s a great added facility. I’ve certainly seen it as a benefit as we make sure that when we induct new colleagues we make them aware that there is that support available.”
If you would like to find out more about how Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy could support your business or place of work, please contact Frances Novillo, Lead Chaplain.