About Chris Milton, Founder of The Way Website

After formal education and a brief period in sales, Chris moved to London and studied for a Higher National Diploma in Building studies. The career in the building trade did not last very long as the industry slowed in the early nineties and Chris was a victim of two consecutive redundancies.

Disillusioned with the UK he then left to work and explore America. The USA made a big impact on him and he had a spiritual re-awakening at the Grand Canyon, making a recommitment to Jesus Christ.

On returning Chris once again found a position in sales, despite numerous attempts to return to the building industry. Finally after several years, a position opened within the Worthing Churches Homeless Project (WCHP) (now known as Turning Tides). This led ultimately to managing the Resettlement Department, offering choices and supporting homeless people in the WCHP hostels, building contacts with the local agencies, the Council and landlords, including setting up the 'local landlords forum' in Worthing.

Chris and his colleagues became aware that many resettled people required ongoing support, and that many people could not even access accommodation because of other issues in their life. It was clear that a venue was needed where all these people could be supported. After applying for funding, the first full-time day centre in Worthing supporting the vulnerable and homeless was opened in a local church hall. This was open less than a year and closed amidst some local opposition. Chris and others knew that such a project was desperately needed and later identified a building, close to the beach within the same area, being used by the council to repair deck-chairs, which he felt was perfect. At the time it was derelict and needed a large investment to restore it. One of the local pastors stood outside the building with him and prayed. The trustees at the time felt this was too much and he was encouraged to drop this dream. Shortly afterwards he felt it was time to leave WCHP - though it was unrelated. Since then, the prayers have been answered and the building has been refurbished to provide a base for the outreach work of WCHP.Due to a change in personal circumstances, he then moved to Berkshire and worked at Yeldall Manor as a counsellor/keyworker. Moving into the centre of Reading led to employment with a small Christian charity, FAITH Christian Group for the next four years. During this time Chris established the first night shelter, ‘Stepping Stone’ in Reading meaning the council could no longer ignore the plight of the homeless and addicted. A secondary project was set up offering accommodation to some of the most affected homeless and addicted in the town. Furthermore, he began collaborating with others, to support working girls, helping them find a way off the streets. Networking with churches around Reading encouraged more churches to support vulnerable individuals in their communities. During this time he started a degree at Moorlands Bible College as a placement based student.His marriage to Lorraine meant that they both left Reading and moved to Bournemouth. This enabled him to finish his degree as a college-based student. Another year in Bournemouth was spent establishing a new post, working for Faithworks Wessex. Setting up outreach work among the drop-in centres run by the churches, while Lorraine studied for a year at Moorlands, meant he could also complete his degree with a dissertation. The subject of the dissertation further explored the relationship between churches and people with addictions.During his final year at college Chris spent five weeks in Kosova on block placement. This was particularly tough for both him and Lorraine, as they had just got married and moved into their new home in Christchurch, outside Bournemouth. Chris returned and did not expect Kosova to play a part in his future life – someone had other plans!

Back in the UK, a passion and vision for work in Kosova grew and Chris & Lorraine returned their for a short visit. On their last day, they found out about a vacancy in a tiny village in the south – they applied and were accepted and moved there in November 2008.

After two years in the village they moved to a town in the West of the country, joining Operation Mobilisation (OM), they also became linked to the Church Mission Society (CMS). Chris developed a drug education programme which, with translators, he was able to present in a number of secondary schools in Kosova, building some contacts with a number of young people/services. From this a vision developed to create a safe place for the children & young people, Lighthouse, which, with the provision of some generous funding, led to them setting up and opening a new business, a café, aimed at the children and youth. This they operated themselves for a year before handing it over to be run by a local team, when they returned to the UK.

Chris & Lorraine returned to live in the UK permanently in June 2013, wanting to remain with OM, they moved to the Midlands to work at the OM Lifehope Training Centre in Halesowen. Chris was Team Life & Ministry Co-ordinator with the English Language Community Outreach (ELCO) programme. This was followed by heading up the STM Dept (Short Term Mission) recieving, in Halesowen. He also worked in a variety of ways to support others on the edge of society, including the homeless & those struggling with addictions. This led to him working, still with OM, in one of the local prisons as a chaplain, feeling that he had found a passion, he then started working also as a chaplian, in one of the local VI form colleges. He now has developed a team in the college with people from the local churches.

In the summer of 2018 Chris & Lorraine moved, still under OM, from Halesowen, to close to the centre of Birmingham, looking to serve and improve the area, seeking to bring something of the love of God to the community.

Chris's passion and work with the homeless and vulnerable has been rooted in the verses from the Bible, in Proverbs 31 verses 8-9 (NIV): "Speak up for those that cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy."

Chris developed an interest in addiction, particularly substance misuse from which this website was born. He completed a range of courses including Christian counselling and various other Christian and secular courses. He also organised and ran a variety of training sessions, particularly drug education to young people, staff and volunteers, both in UK and Kosova. In addition to a variety of other speaking engagements in schools and churches again both in the UK and Kosova.

Chris was formerly involved with the national charity Hope UK, and a trustee of Reading based Amethyst, offering training around substance misuse to children and young people. Chris is a member of the Evangelical Alliance, and also an active member of ISAAC, the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition, since 1999, attending various conferences. He currently organises the ISAAC group in the Midlands, bringing together others interested in addiction across the area. Chris is available to use not only his experience of addiction, but also of homelessness and of developing a team to support those affected.