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Winter Update 2015

February, 2015
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A recent Relationships Foundation article highlighted the following:

  1. Children who live in more harmonious households experience better physical and mental health, are more likely to succeed at school, and are found to have higher levels of emotional wellbeing.
  2. Research has outlined that poor relationship quality can lead to family breakdown, with an estimated cost to the tax payer of over £46 billion a year.

Further research also revealed that everyone will benefit from strong and stable couples, families and social relationships, which are the basis of a thriving society.  In the light of this, it is not surprising that the work of Explore with young people is so important.


Comments from young people on the difference that an Explore session can make.

  • There is hope for all marriages to last a long time. Communication is key.
  • It helped me to understand what marriage in real life is like and not how they show it in movies.
  • I’ve realized it is important to admit your mistakes and apologise and listen to each other.
  • Made me look forward with greater confidence to getting married and having children.
  • That marriage is a gift from God and we must take it seriously.

 

Discoveries or surprises that young people experienced.

  • Marriage is just not about sex – it’s about love, trust, honesty, communication and responsibilities.
  • That you don’t have to be the same, or have the same interests, to love each other.
  • That even if they make mistakes, they still know how to forgive each other.
  • Couples can get back together and find trust and love again even after an affair.
  • You have to work at a marriage to make it last.  The couple were best friends.


Staff feedback from Explore events.

‘I just want to thank you both as a parent and teacher for the fascinating RS day yesterday that Emma and myself listened to and sat in on.  I came home yesterday evening and Emma’s first comments were, “What a brilliant RS day she had!”  Having sat in on one of the discussion groups, it brought home to Emma and myself, together with the other students’ the reality of life relationships as well as the stresses and strains of a partnership and how these can be overcome.  It also brought home to them that life is never perfect.  Having an open forum, like Explore, to discuss all aspects of a relationship was such a great learning curve for us both.  We spent a good hour over tea and cake discussing what is required to make a solid relationship, with compromise, love, kindness with respect, and I feel that it was a very real learning experience for us both.  Could you do this more often?  I would like to think that it really prepares the 6th form students for real life’.  (Head of RS Dept. Tunbridge Wells School)

‘I thought it was fantastic.  I feel it was one of the most engaging sessions that I have seen.  The couple’s openness was refreshing and I think it really helped show the pupils what a positive relationship should be like’. (Member of staff, Grace Academy, Solihull)


Encouragements for the New Year.

  1. New groups have been set up in Beds, Herts, Essex and Walsall, with Local Development Officers in place.
  2. There are new Local Development Officers in the RC Archdiocese of Westminster and in the county of Berkshire.
  3. There are a number of other areas which have expressed an interest in establishing an Explore group.

 

Objectives for 2015

  1. Establish and consolidate the work of Explore in all new areas.  Build up a network of schools and volunteer couples.
  2. Maintain the positive progress in Kent and Hampshire.
  3. Follow up the current initiatives in Oxfordshire, Cambridge, Sussex and Surrey.  This will require significant time and commitment, but the potential for growth is immense. Opportunities are rife for Explore expansion.
  4. Continue to devise a funding strategy as well as raising money at a local level.
  5. Promote the sharing of contacts, encouragements and good practice across all areas and among Explore personnel.
  6. Where appropriate, continue to engage with like-minded groups. 


Chief Executive

On a more personal note, I have been amazed and delighted by the growing number of people who have expressed an interest in, and a passion for, the work of Explore. Indeed, in recent months through my meetings, email contacts and word of mouth, I have become increasingly aware that there are very few limits to the potential for growth of the charity. The importance and relevance of lasting relationships and marriage cannot be underestimated.

Our aim is that even more young people should benefit from ‘the Explore experience’ and I believe that 2015 could be momentous.

Please accept my sincere thanks for all your good wishes, prayers and financial support and always feel able to contact me.


Yours,

 

Chris Ford

Chief Executive

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