Matt Ashpole is the new Youth Worker for Identity 

7th November 2018
Tony Mallion reports
picture of Matt by Brian Philpot

MATT ASHPOLE 2018 anna heydon

New Identity youth worker Matt Ashpole being introduced at the Great Yarmouth Celebrate! event at the King’s Centre by Identity chairman Methodist minister Mark Attwood.  picture Anna Heydon

Matt Ashpole brian philpotTwenty three year old Matt Ashpole (pictured right) who grew up at St Andrew’s Church Gorleston has returned to the town as the new Youth Worker for the Identity Youth Project. Identity’s gain may well be a loss to Norfolk Fire service since he was applying for a career as a firefighter when the youth work job came up in the summer

He grew up in the seaside town attending St Andrew’s Church where he became a Christian as a teenager. “From a young age I felt a calling to ministry, but of which area of ministry I was unsure”. He volunteered for various youth and children’s work.. At the age of nineteen he was put forward for ordained ministry. He was working at Cliff Park High School (Now Cliff Park Ormiston Academy) as a PE Technician and tennis coach and personal trainer when a vacancy opened up within North Breckland Youth For Christ

He enjoyed the work. “I felt like I was exactly where God wanted me to be. It was such a privilege to be able to play a part in the young people's lives and to be able, by the grace of God, to help influence and impact their lives positively through displaying God's love to them. This is something I am very much looking forward to being able to do with the young people in and around Gorleston”

By the time the Breckland contract ended Matt had married Hannah who was completing her studies at Brunel University in Uxbridge. Matt joined her there working at a West London school for a time and managing a church youth club which attracted a membership of over 80

Once Hannah finished her Masters degree they moved to Norwich attending Soul Church and became involved in the Friday night Soul Youth. Matt had applied to the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and been shortlisted.  “It was while I was starting the process to pursue a career with them that in the back of my mind I knew God was calling me to something different”.  It was at this time the job with Identity back at Gorleston came came up. “I had got through a couple of the hoops needed to get further into the recruitment process with the fire service and was excited by this prospect. However, the more I listened to God the more obvious it was that Identity Youth Project was where God was calling me. I withdrew my application, despite spending hours applying and attending the essential training nights and fitness sessions. I couldn't feel more at peace with the decision despite the fire service being the more logical and safer option. God's way isn't always logical but it is certainly the right way and better way”

Identity is supported by five Gorleston churches including Magdalen Way Methodist which provides an office for the project. Matt said:  “I am so excited to see how God uses Identity to influence and impact the young people of Gorleston and how we can work together to introduce young people to faith. I am spending the coming weeks getting a feel for what is going on meeting with many people to see how we can serve the young people of our community to the best of our ability and brining glory to God through this”