Press release on Teen Challenge’s arrival at May Street

A Belfast city centre church has formed an innovative collaboration
with a Christian organisation that aims to help people tackle various
forms of addiction.

May Street Presbyterian Church’s premises will provide a base in the
heart of the city for Teen Challenge, which is currently based at
Albertbridge Road.

Teen Challenge is to announce its arrival in the city centre at an
Open House evening which will take place at May Street at 7.45pm on
Friday January 15.  There will be music, testimonies and refreshments.

Teen Challenge’s objective is to relieve suffering caused to people by
addictions and difficult social conditions. It is part of a national
charity which is linked to an international organisation.

Pastor Lee McClelland from Teen Challenge said: “This move provides us
with something we have wanted for a long time – a city centre presence
which enables us to reach more people in need across the whole of
Belfast and the wider community.

“May Street is perfect because it is centrally located with easy
access by public transport. We also connect with local communities
through our buses and we believe the new base in the city centre will
offer additional opportunities for outreach.

“We are grateful to May Street Church for providing us with this
opportunity and we pray that this collaborative arrangement will
benefit the wider community.”

Arthur Acheson, the Clerk of Session at May Street, said: “This will
bring the outreach of May Street and the community work of Teen
Challenge together in one place for the first time.

“It offers the charity a city centre presence which it has long
understood to be necessary to reach more people in need across the
whole of Belfast and the much wider community with direct access to
the centre by public transport.

“May Street’s future, like its past, has depended on providing
leadership and support to organisations that deal with vulnerable
people and their place in the wider world.

“The congregation is delighted to welcome Teen Challenge to develop
this latest chapter of very active city centre Christian work in May
Street.”

Teen Challenge is one of the first users of May Street’s newly
refurbished basement premises, a £300,000 project which included the
refurbishment of a 1,400 sq ft hall, entrance lobby, toilet
facilities, heating and lighting.  in the church basement. Work on the
£300,000 construction project was completed in the autumn.

The lead funder for the project was Belfast City Council, which
provided £200,000 through its Local Investment Fund, with additional
support coming from the Alpha Programme (managed by Groundwork NI) and
Biffa Award plus the Listed Places of Worship scheme.

The refurbishment was specifically designed to include significant
community purposes and among other users at present are Street
Pastors, who go out at weekends to protect the vulnerable, and Fed and
Warm Homeless, which meets the needs of rough sleepers.

May Street is keen to see the venue being used by a variety of new
users and is organising open viewing every Thursday at 1.30pm-2pm.
Anyone interested should contact the church by email at
maystreetpresbyterian@gmail.com

David McAuley, chairman of the Urban Soul Community Interest
Community, which oversaw the development and the grant-funding, said
they were pleased that the hall was to be used for such a positive
outreach.

“The refurbishment was specifically designed to provide facilities for
significant community use and the Community Interest Company is
therefore delighted that May Street has found a principal user in Teen
Challenge.

“However, we have other slots in the week to fill and look forward to
hearing from other social outreach charities which may be interested.”

Urban Soul CIC has received mentoring from South Belfast Social
Enterprise Hub, which is supported by OFMDFM and Invest NI.

Teen Challenge offers opportunities for city centre volunteers from
the business and residential communities to get involved in the
outreach, Full information is available from Pastor McClelland by
email at teenchallengebelfast@gmail.com.

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