Friends International is opening its first Centre in the Republic of Ireland to support the growing number of international students.
Friends International, a Christian charity supporting international students, is to open its first ever Local Centre in the Republic of Ireland. The new Centre will be located in Dublin, a city which accommodates over 25,000 international students from all over the world. Friends International serves and supports international students throughout the UK and Ireland and the new Centre forms part of an ambitious new expansion plan to grow its existing network of 34 local centres, that offer friendship and faith to over 10,000 international students every year.
The new Dublin Centre will operate under the banner of International Student Ministry [ISM] Ireland, a joint initiative formed by Friends International and Christian Unions Ireland (CUI). The work will be overseen by Heledd Job, a veteran of student ministry having worked with IFES and UCCF in Wales, Portugal, Slovakia and Italy in various roles over the last 10 years. Heledd will work alongside Hollie Tagle, Project Leader for ISM Ireland.
In the last decade, numbers of international students have risen steadily and every year, over 40,000 international students come to study in universities across Ireland and tens of thousands more at language schools. With the unparalleled degree of uncertainty facing all students embarking on a new academic year, Friends International have recognised that international students need support more than ever. The new Centre in Dublin will be focussed on reaching out to international students across the city, running the network of international cafés in the city where students meet, and developing links with university CUs and churches that support international students.
Heledd Job described her vision for the ministry in Dublin. She said; “Online meetings and activities have proved to be popular, but at the end of a long day taking classes online, it can be a big ask for international students to spend their evenings on screen as well. I would love to see churches and CUs in Dublin working together to be places where international students can find a home”.
Alan Tower, National Director said; “Our vision is to offer friendship and faith and support to every international student studying in the UK and Ireland, and this expansion is another small step on the road to the realisation of that vision”.
A Message from Mark Ellis, Director of Christian Unions Ireland (CUI)
For years, we’ve been praying.
We’ve been working with international students in Northern Ireland for a number of years. But in the Republic of Ireland – a country with two-and-a-half times the population, five times the number of students, and more than ten times the number of international students – we’ve barely scratched the surface.
So, we’re thrilled that from August, Heledd Job will be joining our team. Heledd comes with a wealth of pioneering experience in cross-cultural and international student ministry, most recently in Italy. She also knows student Christian Unions well, having been a Staff Worker with UCCF. But more than that, Heledd is gospel-hearted, warmly clear and consistently kind; able to come alongside others and point then consistently to Christ. We need her as part of our team.
We are delighted that through our 50/50 partnership with Friends International, we can work together for Christ’s kingdom in Dublin and beyond. So we are deeply thankful to God for his provision to us of his best, and grateful to Heledd for being willing to join our team.
Mark Ellis Director, Christian Unions Ireland.
Who is Heledd Job?
“Hi, I’m Heledd. I’m Welsh and since graduating have been involved in student ministry with IFES in Wales, Portugal, Slovakia and most recently in Italy.
As someone who’s spent the last 10 years as a foreigner, I’ve seen and felt the difference a warm community that displays the welcome of the Gospel can make. So, I’m excited about joining an organisation that puts that at the centre of what they do.
I’m want to see students from all over the world fall more in love with Jesus as they are welcomed, loved, known, discipled and then sent out as witnesses to Him both in Dublin and wherever God takes them in the future.”
– Heledd Job, Dublin