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Rae speaks to Mark and Lindsay Melluish

24th February 2022

Mark and Lindsay Melluish are Senior Pastors at St Paul’s Church in Ealing, as well as previously part of the leadership team at New Wine. Lindsay also works children and young people as part of the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The group of churches they lead run TLG Early Intervention. 

Rae: Hi Mark and Lindsay, tell me a bit about what has been going on in your community. There has been so much going on worldwide and country-wide. We’re all feeling the impact of COVID, and the other issues linked to that, in our local communities. Everyone on the street would say they know what struggles people have been experiencing. It would be great to hear from you what you have been seeing, both the struggles and the community response.  

Mark: Hi Rae, we have seen growing levels of loneliness, mental health issues, poverty, debt - all sorts of things. What we learnt from Jesus is that every issue in the end boils down to one person, it’s the one person that really counts, leave the 99 to find the one. What we are seeing as a church is reaching out to that one in whatever area. For us, that’s mental health. You can look at mental health throughout the country and think there’s a vast issue. How are we going to deal with it? How are we going to support children and young people with their mental health? For us, we’re doing that through partnership with TLG.  

Lindsay: I work in mental health, with children and young people at the high end of risk. I often think to myself, if only some of these young people had been able to access something like TLG, they may not have ever needed to come to a service like CAMHS. Lots of children have really difficult times in their lives for whatever reason. Often no one’s to blame, but circumstances lead to children and young people having a difficult time. It might be at school, perhaps bullying or they’re struggling with school work, and they just need somebody to come alongside them and support them. Somebody 1:1 who’s not going to tell them off, who’s not going to judge them, they’re just going to be there for them. Something as simple as at, such as what TLG offers, can be what makes all the difference for that child in getting through their school life.  

Or, it might be that home life is more difficult and maybe the grown-ups at home aren’t able to be there for them in the way they need right now. Someone from TLG who’s able to come alongside them and to listen to them in that unconditional way is just what some children need and it can make all the difference. I know TLG Early Intervention makes the difference, that the child gets the support now so that they don’t go on later to need something that we hope they wouldn’t need.   

R: What led you partner with TLG?   

L: We were at a conference at Eastbourne, and I went to have a little look around the stands in a coffee or seminar break and I met someone who was on the table...  

M: you were after free chocolates 

L: Well, I think I was after free chocolates, but this lovely young girl was on the TLG stand and so I went up to her and asked her what she was doing. She started to tell me a little about TLG and I just thought how amazing it sounded. At that time, as a church we were really looking for new ways to connect with schools. We were finding schools didn’t really want us to do assemblies anymore, so we were thinking what is it then that we can do. This (TLG Early Intervention) just seemed ideal. This would be really useful for the schools, as well as helpful for the children and the parents and a lovely way of creating that link between us and the community.  

We then found out more about TLG and the amazing resources that you provide. You’re not just going in and having a chat with a young person, you’re really going in with something significant, something to use, something to talk about, out of that comes different conversation. I think we were really struck by all the support that TLG offers, all the resources, always available for that support. It felt like a very robust organisation that we were going to be partnering with and I think that was another thing that really attracted us to it.  

M: Yeah, I think probably I would say  it was professional and doing something in the schools which was reaching out and helping the children – supporting teachers at the same time too. Lots of churches pray for teachers and we want to say yeah pray, but they need more, How might we offer more to the schools so that teachers really do know that the local church is there for them in a professional way. I think that professional side of TLG is really important.   

R: That’s great. You’ve got a number of churches. What’s the impact for you in getting close and being able to bring that valuable support to all the family? What have you seen in your community? What’s the impact of that that you’re seeing?  

L: One of the people who is coaching a child in the local school that we’re linked with said this: ‘I was uncertain at the beginning how the child would respond to me. Did they really want to be there? The answer has been a resounding yes. They were very open from the start and really enthusiastic about the sessions. The first meeting with one particular child sticks out in my mind because it was rather different from the others. He’d been getting into a lot of trouble at school, setting fire alarms off etc. The first session he came in with quite a lot of attitude, so it was important to spend a couple of sessions building rapport and trust. By the third session he was tearful and said he didn’t want to be seen as the naughty boy in class. 

R: Wow. 

M: So that’s what it does – and if the church is providing that, it’s offering healing.   

R: Amen, that’s so great to hear. Thanks for sharing with us today Mark and Lindsay, so good to see you.   

 

Find out more about how TLG can equip you and your church to support children’s emotional wellbeing and sign up for FREE online training.

 

Children's wellbeing is in crisis. Unless we act NOW to reach those who are currently unable to cope, the impact may last a lifetime.

Despite restrictions lifting, the impact of multiple lockdowns, school closures and the resulting turmoil will continue to affect children's emotional wellbeing for many years to come. 

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Rachel Morfin

Rachel Morfin

With twenty years’ experience working with children in both church and school situations, Rachel has pioneered and now heads up TLG’s Early Intervention programme supporting children struggling in mainstream primary and secondary schools. Oh, and she’s got three teenagers of her own at home!

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