Southmead was – and still is – a large, predominantly white, ‘working-class’ housing estate on the edge of Bristol with a long-running reputation (not always deserved) in both local and national media for youth crime, gang warfare and vandalism.
During my time at Southmead, I provided occasional cover for the chaplaincy team at Southmead Hospital as well as becoming closely involved in the work of a local youth club and community arts project. In 1981 I founded the ‘Southmead Forum’ to encourage people from a wide variety of statutory agencies and voluntary organizations to share their experiences, problems and aspirations on a regular basis.
I was privileged to serve this curacy alongside an incumbent whose own pastoral commitments and spiritual/liturgical insights were informed by a chaplaincy at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, as well as substantial experience of psycho-analysis following a sabbatical spent at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich.