An important part of the work of the SMT is to enrich the community life of Southlands College, specifically in ways that reflect its Methodist values and ethos. Through this, the SMT maintains and develops the relationship between the Methodist Church, the College and the University of Roehampton.
Chaplaincy is an important way for the SMT to enrich the College community. The Southlands Methodist Trust sponsors a range of activities within both Southlands College’s Methodist chaplaincy, and also through encouraging and supporting the wider provision of multi-faith chaplaincy work for the whole of the University community.
The chaplaincy leads regular acts of worship at the Methodist Chapel at Southlands, as well as a variety of ecumenical services and activities. These include welcome events at the start of the academic year, a Remembrance Day service, a Trans* Remembrance service, the University carol service, and opportunities to celebrate important events like Shrove Tuesday, Lent and Easter. We work as an ecumenical and multi-faith chaplaincy, supporting the different faiths on campus and providing opportunities for education about faith for all people.
The chaplaincy also hosts a range of community-building events across the University campus. These include weekly community lunches, regular well-being tea parties, Sunday evening socials, craft-based activities and music events. These activities create opportunities for pastoral encounters and support, enable student engagement and also promote the chaplaincy and welfare services.
The SMT sponsors the employment of a Chaplaincy Community Worker (CCW). In addition to nurturing community across Southlands College, the CCW strengthens ecumenical relationships through a leadership role in an intentional Christian Student community house on campus (Barat House, overseen by the Digby Stuart College and Southlands College chaplains). The CCW role allows someone to work for two or three years in a faith context to explore their own vocation, develop their working skills, and help boost the work of the chaplaincy.
Music making is a central part of Southlands College identity, enabling individuals to develop their talents and their confidence, and providing a structured way to relate to each other as a community. The SMT supports events (and necessary equipment) which bring students and staff together to participate in musical activities, and it provides scholarships for gifted students to advance their technical and practical music skills.
The music programme supports a range of ensembles in which students can participate. Weekly groups include a small orchestra, a jazz band, a choir, a gospel choir, a string ensemble, and the steel pans. The ensembles are often visible at College and University events.
The use of music in non-conventional settings is part of the Methodist practice which places community building at the centre of its ethos. The music programme has included visits to prisons and work with Wellbeing and Chaplaincy.
The SMT manages the historic archives of Southlands College. The SMT has funded Archival staff, and also the purchase of preservation and conservation materials, as well as funding restoration work on items within the archive. The archive plays a valuable role within the learning life of the University, the Methodist Church and more broadly for students of the history of education.
The Trust also continues to support small grants through the Head of College to acquire relevant additions to the archive (such as images and books concerning the historic life of the College) and to protect and display a range of pictures and artefacts from the archive. It also funds the development of the Archive’s oral history which includes interviews with the College’s oldest alumnae. This work illustrates the history of the College and brings it alive for those staff and students who currently occupy it.
The Southlands Venture
Coordinated by the Southlands College Chaplaincy Community Worker, the Southlands Venture is a project sponsored by the SMT designed to encourage students to engage with the local community through development, volunteering and campaigning projects focused on issues of importance to the Methodist Church.
Nurturing alumni relationships
Important to the development of a meaningful College community is the work done at Southlands in sustaining proper relationships with past staff and students. The SMT supports a range of programmes and events, visits, displays of archival material, and honorary awards. Through these events and in other ways, the College focuses its energies on sustaining links with the dispersed Southlands community, which extends back to those who attended in the 1930s, in ways which celebrate and nurture the community itself.
One way the SMT supports this work is through the publication of a high-quality alumni magazine – The Southlander – which provides space for the Southlands College chaplaincy, the Susanna Wesley Foundation, the Southlands Venture and other specifically Methodist-focused activities of the Trust to be presented to a wide community of alumni.
Awards, prizes and hardship/access grants
The SMT sponsors a range of prizes and awards for staff and students, encouraging a culture of excellence in academic achievement across the College, and the celebration of the Methodist history and ethos of the College.
In addition to these awards, the Trust, through the Head of College, offers small bursaries to students in positions of particular financial need.
From time to time, the Trustees support events in the College, such as research discussions, which help either to deliver their charitable objectives directly or to promote the work of the Trust and the College to bring it to a wider audience and extend its impact.