The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norfolk charity chief moves to Christian Aid role

Julian BryantThe Chief Executive Officer of a Norfolk Christian charity is moving on to new things.  He will be dividing his time between working for a national charity as well as helping to run a local community initiative. Keith Morris reports.
Julian Bryant (pictured right), CEO of the Norfolk and Suffolk drugs charity The Matthew Project, is set to join the Christian Aid team in the East of England which has at its heart the desire to eradicate poverty and empowers supporters to campaign against the injustices that are suffered by people in developing countries around the world.
Julian said: “I visited Cambodia a few years ago and it had a significant impact on my life. In Cambodia, multi-national corporations buy up a lot of the land in the country, forcing people to go to the major cities where they live in slums. The slums are then cleared by the same companies thereby making people homeless again. These companies manage to avoid paying taxes in Cambodia through the use of off-shore bank accounts. They manage to make so much money without giving anything back and cause much poverty.
“I have also been involved in various initiatives and charities that both meet a need in developing countries but also campaign against the causes of poverty.  But I have now reached a point where I feel I need to do something more about this. And so, after 10 years of having the privilege of working for The Matthew Project, I am excited to be taking a part-time job with Christian Aid which will involve developing volunteers, profiling and campaigning and getting to challenge these injustices.”  
Julian, his wife Barbara and others, have also been involved in setting up a small grassroots Christian community group in Norfolk called The Open Table. Julian said: “It's about reaching out to people and bringing them into community with others, so that they can also make a difference. We’re developing an alternative simple model which relies far less on funding, but more on faith, goodwill and living differently.
“Like Paul Vanier said, ‘when we welcome people from this world of anguish, brokenness and depression, and when they gradually discover that they are wanted and loved as they are and they see they have a place, then we witness a real transformation – I would even say resurrection...they discover a sense of belonging, that they are part of a family.’ That sums up The Open Table.”
Julian will continue to provide support to other charities and has already received quite a few requests to do this.
Whilst the future is exciting he also feels sad to be leaving The Matthew Project.
“The Matthew Project is in great shape in terms of trustees, excellent management, amazing workers, innovation, finance and most importantly, enabling recovery to happen for people in need.  I just wish I could do everything, but that is not possible and I think this is the right time to pass on the baton.
“Thank you to everyone who has made a difference. Part of my heart will always be with people who are affected by substance misuse. It has been inspiring working for such a charity which manages to combine its Christian ethos and action in such a positive way.”


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