The Listening Place


Exhibition at the Guildhall 22nd June 2021

Annual Report from The Manager of The Listening Place Thursday, 10th October 2019 at Salisbury Methodist Church -7pm for 7.15 pm

Dear Friends

Last year the Rev James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, regrettably had to cancel his evening with us as speaker. Consequently a Question Time chaired by Rev David Hookins with a panel of 4 Listeners was substituted. It was a home grown affair but I think well received. What came out of it was that we needed to spend time together, discussing the issues we face and particularly our strategy for moving forward over the next 5 years.

An issue faced was the provision of service at St Michael, Bemerton. The change in opening times made filling the rota , and as staffing SMC properly was our priority, sadly we had to suspend the service. Thankfully, listening, not formally associated with TLP is able to be offered still at St Michael's as part of their outreach work.

A Prayer, Praise and Planning Day was held at Bemerton Methodist Church in April. It was well attended by our team of listeners. Three clear goals came out of our day together, which were to:

  1. Seek further avenues for Listening and, in particular to pursue an approach from Salisbury Medical Practice.
  2. Promote 'listening' and The Listening Place more widely.
  3. Continue to pray and seek God's guidance.

The new method of planning for and recording of listening session metrics has been highly successful. Coupled with the use of the Ipad, and the new telephone system, team members are better informed of what to expect and it is easier for the Management Team to analyse data to support decision making. In addition, mobility of the phone provides greater flexibility in meeting the need for quiet and/or confidentiality when necessary. That is very much what we required, thank you SMc for 'listening' to us!

Looking at the Record sheets, what you can see is that

  • The number of sessions offered is down (no longer at Bemerton)
  • The take up rate of offered sessions has not changed significantly.
  • The pattern of listening continues to change particularly between formal and informal listening. In the 2017 some 40% of listenings were formal, falling to 30% in 2018 and 18% now. However, the proportion of new to repeat clients remains much the same at around 50/50.

On the people front, two Listeners have resigned -- we already miss them -- but we have some Training courses in place where we hope to be able to recruit more Listeners for TLP. Not only are Listeners needed to resource core SMc sessions, they are also needed to provide a pool to resource Salisbury Medical Practice and other potential future demands. With the fall in numbers of formal listenings, we also need to ensure that all team members get sufficient 'actual' or practise listening sessions to remain 'current'.

On the admin front, I am pleased to say that all our Listening Team are up to date with safeguarding and DBS. A huge thank you on behalf of everyone involved to achieve this.

Finally, I want to particularly thank the Welcome Area Team of volunteers. They are often the first point of contact when someone walks through the door. SMc is known as a safe place and we have more than a few vulnerable adults who use our services and that of the coffee bar area. People don't always need advice, often all they really need is eye contact, an ear to listen and a heart to understand them. The use of the tables in the Welcome area for informal listening is working well. The help of our colleagues serving that day means that all can be accommodated. Thank you.

The Listening Place has been operating now for 15 years and this is because of our team of valued Listeners. This successful service would not be possible without the dedication, commitment, and compassion they have as they volunteer. Thank you.

Thought for the Day? Take a moment to:

  • Assess how you listen?
  • Who You always listen to?
  • Who You rarely listen to?
  • Who listens to You?
  • Who You want to listen to You?

Sue Robbins

Annual Open Evening 2019 - Thursday 10th October

Revd Canon Professor James Woodward Ph.D

James Woodward

‘Listening to Ourselves?’

After the sharing of annual reports, a talk was given by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, on Listening to Ourselves? Taking his own experience of bereavement and grief as a starting point, he took his audience into his confidence with gentle, often self-deprecating humour, exploring helpful and not-so-helpful responses to grief, and emphasising the need for those experiencing the pain of loss to slow down and take the time needed to get in touch with their feelings.

He considered not only the individual experience of grief, but also the public expression of grief and the ways in which the expression of grief has changed since the Victorian period. He also drew attention to the way in which grief can bring people closer to each other in greater love, and asked whether we are nurturing a culture which enables us to be more vulnerable with one another. Referring to the classic model of the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, he suggested that churches should be seeking to offer sanctuary, space, ritual, prayer and support – and a sixth stage, peace.

James Woodward

Professor Woodward took a number of questions and comments from the floor, ranging from things that people had found helpful in their own experiences of grief to a consideration of the difficulty of meeting the needs of those experiencing extreme anger in the wake of cruel and irredeemable loss resulting from avoidable accidents or criminal behaviour. Professor Woodward finished by expressing his admiration for the service offered by the Listening Place, and offering his support to it. The evening closed informally over a delicious selection of light refreshments.

October 2018 A.G.M 'Any Questions' from the Listening Place Management Team

Any Questions

Pampering Day

Pampering Day <

One of the most challenging aspects of being a listener with the listening place is coming in for a listening session unaware of what lies ahead. A client walks through the door and you have no idea what they are going to talk about, yet somehow through a combination of prayer and training our listeners manage to listen intently, guiding people to see what is the most important part of the content and what action the client could take to improve the situation. All without giving advice, telling their own story or judging the client.

Our listeners have dealt with some very difficult listening sessions demonstrating a high level of professionalism and empathy. We have an amazing support network for our listeners after such difficult sessions and are very grateful to all those who provide guidance and support.

On 8th March 2018, 20 people connected with the listening place gathered at Bemerton Methodist Church for a day to help recharge our batteries. We started the day in worship led by Revd Steve Hawkes, singing some beautiful and thought provoking hymns. We were very privileged to be joined by Canon Anne Long who led the main part of the day encouraging us to spend time reflecting on those things which drain our energy and those things which resource us and build us up. One phrase that spoke particularly to me from this session was that “Self-care is not selfish”. After a very well received fish and chips lunch we had a very entertaining demonstration of cake decorating. Feeling refreshed and rested, we then spent time in prayer, viewing a challenging TED ( talk on listening and engaging with a variety of prayer stations. This was followed by a time of fellowship as we engaged in varying activities, the most popular of which seemed to be colouring. The day finished with a short communion service, again led by Revd Steve Hawkes.

Thank you to the many people who made the day possible.