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‘Where God wanted me to be’: Norfolk charity worker embarks on new role with Identity

PUBLISHED: 16:19 18 November 2018

Matt Ashpole was about to embark on a new career as a firefighter for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service when the position at Identity opened up in the summer. Picture: Brian Philpot

Matt Ashpole was about to embark on a new career as a firefighter for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service when the position at Identity opened up in the summer. Picture: Brian Philpot

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A Norfolk Youth for Christ worker has taken up a new role in the Identity Youth Project in Gorleston.

Matt Ashpole was about to embark on a new career as a firefighter for the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service when the position at Identity opened up in the summer.

The 23-year-old, who hails from the seaside town and attended St Andrew’s Church, always felt a pull to the ministry.

He said, “From a young age I felt a calling to ministry, but of which area of ministry I was unsure.”

The young man has volunteered across the county in various young and children’s work and was put forward for ordained ministry.

At the time, Mr Ashpole was working at Cliff Park Ormiston, then known as Cliff Park High School, as a PE technician, tennis coach and personal trainer.

While he was working at the school a position opened up at North Breckland Youth For Christ and he knew he was “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 to, by the grace of God, help to influence and impact their lives positively through displaying God’s love to them,” he said.

When he moved from London to Norwich with his wife Hannah, he applied and was short listed for a role as a firefighter.

“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.

“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,” he said.

Identity Youth Project is a Christian charity, based in Gorleston which brings together five churches from the area.

The charity caters to youth, from 10 to 18 and offers programs and activities.

“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 bringing glory to God through this,’ Mr Ashpole said.

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