Meet Ruth at Belsey Bridge

August 2020

 

The lockdown caused by COVID-19 has been a strange and challenging time, which we have all responded to differently. Relocating and beginning a new role during this time has given Ruth Morey – General Manager at Belsey Bridge – the unique opportunity to explore the centre alone.

Ruth’s story with the Christian Conference Trust began in 2009 at High Leigh, and in 2017 she moved to The Hayes. Her move to Belsey Bridge makes Ruth the only member of staff to have worked long-term at all three centres. She describes her career here as being 'interesting and varied, challenging yet rewarding – no two days are the same.'

 

'It's about bringing people together and being proactive in making them feel cared for and happy.'

Belsey Bridge stands in a 22-acre site, on the rural border of Norfolk and Suffolk. The centre was originally a convent school for orphans, established in 1862, and traces of this history can still be seen today. With its rural location close to the Norfolk Broads, a sweeping coastline of rocky and sandy beaches including beautiful Southwold, river walks, cycle paths, market towns and more, Belsey Bridge is an ideal base for group away days. Usually, summer would see the centre filled with youth groups, spending their days exploring the grounds and the local area together. This year it’s been a much quieter place. Ruth explains,

'I realise for some, lockdown has been difficult and many people have suffered loss during the past 6 months, and that almost makes me feel guilty for saying lockdown has been the most thrilling, fascinating and inspiring experience for me. The truth is that living in the lovely countryside of rural Norfolk, surrounded by the wonders of creation during spring and summer is a pretty good way to spend quarantine.'

She has certainly made the best of an unsettling time, enjoying the constant subtle changes of the landscape around her, watching the blossom of March become the bluebells of April, surrounded by the bright expanses of yellow oil seed rape fields. It’s easy to become absorbed in the practicalities of running a conference centre – assuring the guests' needs are met, when you're busy catering for multiple groups using the centre, so this quiet time in close harmony with nature has been 'an absolute joy' for Ruth. 'Sitting in the grounds with an early morning coffee, listening to the cacophony of birdsong has been a wonderful indulgence,' she says, and one which Ruth hopes that all her guests will soon be able to experience.

Managing the centre alone presented some tricky tasks, but Ruth rose to the challenge, learning to drive the tractor to mow the lawns, and painting countless fences, gates and walls. The newly-created ‘fairy doors’ for the trees that surround the centre are an enchanting treat for young people to discover when they next visit.

Looking forward, Ruth is excited and optimistic, and can’t wait to have the centre filled with people again. To see the growth of Belsey Bridge and to serve guests is her passion, so that they too can experience the joy and blessings that come from being in this unique and beautiful place.

'We are committed to looking after our guests and those of us who choose to work in Christian Hospitality do so because we love people and connect with people. That’s what I’ve missed and that’s what I’m looking forward to.  This centre is best when it is welcoming guests and providing spaces for people to meet and enjoy fellowship. I am looking forward to rolling the welcome mat out to meet our guests.'

'There is nothing better than seeing guests happy and contented. Knowing that a smile, a kind word, helpful service, appetising food, beautiful surroundings or a sense of being at home and belonging can make a difference and enrich their lives.'

 
 
 
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