We live in times that challenge hope.  


In the week that I write this, annual poverty information released by the Governmenti shows that 600,000 more people, half of them children, are living in absolute poverty.ii 

In the same week, the national charity Action for Children published ‘Shattered lives, stolen futures’ in response to crisis that tens of thousands of children and young people are at risk of being exploited across the UK.iii  


In the face of these and other challenges, where we find hope is an urgent question. 


In a video interview from 2020 (when the world was experiencing the challenge to hope which was the Covid pandemic), Dr Susanna Snyderiv, who is theologian and ethicist, reflected on this question: 


“Hope isn’t positive thinking, a kind of cheerful optimism rooted in denial, which insists that we smile all the time. It's also not about a focus on an idealized or perfect heavenly afterlife which somehow makes this world seem much less important and encourages us to invest less time and energy in it.” v 


So, what is hope? And how do we go about cultivating it or helping to bring it into being? 

In the same interview, Susanna Snyder goes on to make, what I think are, three powerful points about where we find hope. 


Firstly, that hope is always rooted in, or always wells up, from a real genuine grappling with the naming of and facing of reality as it is with all its pain and suffering. 

Secondly, that sustainable hope is never about what I wish for or what I hope for personally, it's much more communal than that. Reflecting specifically on Christian hope, Susanna says that it “always has as its goal the flourishing of the whole, the flourishing of our whole communities, our society and our world.” 


Thirdly, cultivating hope brings us a bit of a paradox. At one level hope is always a gift from God - it's something we can't make happen or manufacture.


The message of Easter, which church communities have been celebrating recently, conveys this viewpoint. Yet at the same time, hope is only really known when we come together, when we act together to bring hope into being, when we act to bring about justice and to share love. 


One of the key values that the Romsey Mill team want to express is that we are hopeful.


And that in being hopeful we might help to inspire hope. Updates in this edition of Mill News include examples of new opportunities being created, ongoing partnership work within local communities, stories of hope from young parents.


We would be delighted if the copy of Mill News you are holding or reading on screen, inspires a little (or perhaps even a lot) more hope. 


As ever, we are so grateful to all Romsey Mill’s friends, supporters, funders and partners - for your commitment, care and compassion. Hope is only really known when we come together, when we act together. 


Thank you for helping to cultivate and sustain hope in the lives of many individuals and in our local communities. 




i https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions 

ii https://cpag.org.uk/news/official-child-poverty-statistics-350000-more-children-poverty-and-numbers-will-rise 

iii https://media.actionforchildren.org.uk/documents/Shattered_Lives_Stolen_Futures_Report_-_Full_Report.pdf 

iv Director of Research and Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at Sarum College in Salisbury, 

v ‘What does hope mean in this time?’ Susie Snyder - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5ETYKTRP9w