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Our father

From supporting homeless chefs to broadcasting his Latin
mass online, the Archbishop of Selsey is not your average
priest – as Russell Higham discovers

A PRIEST with a long, wizard-like beard a stipend he receives from the church.
swishes silently around the room, his “Most of the money Cherubs makes goes
hands placed together as if in prayer. A back into training our apprentices but
gold crucifix swings from his neck and the second call on profits is to help other
a Bible pokes out from the pocket of his local homeless projects,” he explains.
cassock. Gently dropping his head to One of these is The Hub, a weekly homeless
speak softly into the ear of an elderly drop-in centre based at The Salvation Army’s
gentleman, he says: “I can recommend a premises near The Level. Here the city’s rough
cheeky little Rioja with the roast lamb”. sleepers are provided breakfast and lunch
Father Jerome Lloyd’s Sunday service is a in a clean, safe environment. What makes
little different to that of most clergy. Instead of it unique is how Jerome insists that clients
communion wafers and a sermon, his faithful here are served the same way that paying
flock enjoy roast dinners made with choice guests are treated in Cherubs’ pub operations:
local ingredients in some of Brighton’s most orders are taken at the tables and the meals
historic pubs. The youthful 50-year-old, whose then taken to them by volunteer waiters
official title is Archbishop of Selsey, worked who sit and talk with them as equals. Being
in the licensed trade and as a restaurant chef treated with respect helps boost the low self
before following his calling esteem that often comes
to the Old Catholic Church. with the grind of sleeping on
He’s now found a way to There were more than the streets. It also feels a lot
combine his love of providing 4,000 people sleeping more dignified than standing
hospitality and good food rough in Brighton in line, bowl in hand, at a
with a project that helps according to Shelter – soup kitchen. Jerome also
the city’s ever-increasing that’s one in 69 of the records a daily mass in Latin
number of rough sleepers. population from The Hub that goes out
Cherubs is Father over his YouTube channel
Jerome’s chain of franchised to remote or housebound
pub kitchens serving traditional British members of his congregation, providing
cuisine – the charitable element being a much-needed point of connection for
the fact the kitchens take on members the city’s most vulnerable and lonely.
of the city’s homeless with an interest in Matthew is one of the 30 or so diners
cooking, pay them a regular wage and put cheerily tucking into roast chicken, mash and
them through accredited NVQ training vegetables at The Hub one cold Wednesday
programmes to become professional chefs. morning. A 41-year-old alcoholic whose
Trainees learn all the competencies addiction had led him into petty crime
required to work in a modern restaurant and trouble with the police, he wanted
as well as life skills that can help keep to put a stop to his life’s downward spiral
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SZÉLES TAMÁS

them off the street. It’s an exercise in and so walked the 140 miles here from his
community entrepreneurship that echoes home in the Midlands. Asked why he chose
Jamie Oliver’s better known Fifteen Brighton, he explains that, as well as being
project which gave young unemployed known as tolerant and accepting, it offered
people jobs in his London restaurant. the chance to start afresh in a place where
Cherubs pay a percentage of their takings nobody knew his history. “It was,” he says
in rent to the hosting pubs but, apart from “about getting myself out of the place that
that, are run on an entirely not-for-profit everyone knew me as a drinker.” What it
basis. Jerome himself does not draw a couldn’t provide him with was a home.
salary; he works voluntarily and lives off There were more than 4,000 people 4

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LOCAL PEOPLE

Father Jerome,
Archbishop of Selsey

SUSSEX LIFE April 2017 53
LOCAL PEOPLE

sleeping rough in Brighton this winter
according to homeless charity Shelter – that’s
one in 69 of the city’s population. And living
on the streets has effects beyond the obvious
ones of health and safety: lack of a permanent
address means it is usually impossible to
find regular employment, making it even
more difficult to secure a proper home.
The Mad Hatter, formerly The Rock, in
Rock Street on the edge of Kemp Town is the
largest pub in Cherubs’ operation. An old
coaching house dating back to 1787 with a
nearby underground tunnel to the beach,
it is the perfect setting for Sunday lunch.
Many customers don’t even realise the
good their patronage is doing and simply
praise the quality of the food. Those who
do feel sated in both body and mind. Simon
Gangloff, the pub’s bar manager, describes
how takings have increased since they began
working with Cherubs a year ago: “You
can tell that our customers feel happy to be
supporting the local community, and in such
an easy way – by eating a lovely roast dinner!
There’s no charity premium involved either,
it’s competitively priced. We’re really proud to
be associated with what Jerome is doing.”
For anybody worried about being
cooked food by people who are sleeping
rough, Jerome reassures them that there
are no hygiene issues: “Brighton Housing
Trust has free and excellent showering
facilities for the homeless. One of our
kitchen porters sleeps in the doorway of
French Connection but showers there
every morning before he comes to work.”
Three weeks after being interviewed at
The Hub, Matthew was beaten up by three
youths and his few meagre possessions taken, Father Jerome, Archbishop of Selsey

along with those of several other people
sleeping on the streets of central Brighton.
Hearing of his plight, Jerome has now
taken him on as a trainee in one of Cherubs’
kitchens. While he’s able to make a positive
difference in a few cases like Matthew’s,
he feels frustrated at the lack of social care
available from official channels and bemoans
their response to this worsening crisis.
Father Jerome can’t help every single one of
Brighton’s homeless but just getting a few like
Matthew back on their feet and into employment,
is an important first step. “It’s what keeps my faith
alive,” he says. And Matthew couldn’t agree
more. “If there was a project like Cherubs in
the Midlands I may not have had to walk all the
way down here – but I’m really glad I did.” w

For more information or to experience Cherubs
visit The Mad Hatter,
7 Rock Street, Brighton
Father Jerome,
Archbishop of Selsey
BN2 1NF
01273 674447; cherubskitchen.com

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