Ebony (Ebz):

Hello, My name is Ebony and I am from the town of Chesterfield and my home parish is the Anglican parish of All Saints and St Mary’s. 

My hobbies include reading, listening to music and art, and my favourite food is Ramen.


‪Hi! My name is Euan and I am part of the volunteer team here at The Briars! ‬‪I come from Mansfield and am part of my local Parish, St Patrick’s.

In my spare time I like to play instruments such as the bass guitar. I am also interested in film and media and I studied these at A-level. I applied for The Briars team as I wanted to spend my gap year making a positive impact on young people and also learning a lot about myself and my faith. ‬


Hi, my name is Issie and I am from the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Beeston, Nottingham! The Briars has been a home to many members of my family in the past and I am looking forward to following in their footsteps as they enjoyed their time here so much. I’m so excited to meet and work with all the young people that we will see this year and hopefully I can guide them along on their faith journey.

One of my favourite hobbies is playing the guitar, and I’ve been playing since I was eight years old. My favourite things to play are acoustic songs such as the classic George Ezra and Ed Sheeran as well as some older hits from the eighties and nineties! Another hobby of mine is drawing cartoon characters like the Looney Toons characters and other comic characters. My favourite food is Christmas dinner with all the trimmings so I can’t wait for dinners on a Sunday! Make sure to keep up with all we’re doing on social media @NDCYS!


Hi, I’m James and I’m from Sacred Heart parish in Carlton, Nottingham. I decided to join The Briars team because I wish to gain experience working with young people and to deepen my relationship with Christ. I am very much looking forward to the year ahead and can’t wait to meet all the five thousand young people that will come up on retreat! I like to spend my spare time on the track running 200m and 400m sprints and coaching athletics.

This includes all areas of athletics javelin and long jump as well as sprints. I also enjoy listening to all kinds of indie music such as Arctic Monkeys. An interesting fact about myself is that I have met various famous athletes including Mo Farah! My favourite food is a beef burger with all the trimmings! My favourite thing from The Briars tuck shop is the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ wrist band. This leads me on to my favourite scripture verse which is from Matthew 7:7 ‘Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.’


Hi, my name is Joel and I’m from the magical kingdom of Belper! I first wanted to join The Briars when I was 12 as it was the first place where I felt able to be myself without being judged. I’m really excited for my year ahead and meeting all of the young people from all over our diocese. My favourite thing from The Briars tuckshop is a mars bar and in my spare time I love to watch football and I am a particular fan of Nottingham Forest, and up until recently I held a season card for the City Ground.

I have a passion for politics and love to get involved in my local community! My home Parish is Our Lady’s in Belper although if you’ve been to The Briars for mass before, you might have seen me because I also used to come here! My favourite piece of scripture is Mark 9:38-41 because it’s all about tolerance and how everyone can get into heaven!


I am from the city of Derby and my parish is St George’s. I love playing music, writing music and watching films new and old.

My favourite food is Chinese! I have been on many retreats to the Briars and got a lot out of it. I always looked up to team members and want to challenge myself to inspire young people just as I was.


Hi my name is Lilly and I am originally from Leicester, from the parish of St Thomas More. I recently moved down to Devon with my parents where they opened a hotel, and am now at a new parish called The Sacred Heart & St Therese of the Child Jesus (which is a bit of a mouthful). I have wanted to join the Team here at The Briars since my Year 9 retreat and am so excited for the year ahead especially for the open retreat at Easter because I was never able to go as a young person.

In my spare time I particularly enjoy art, especially experimenting with colour. I also love to sing and was in a cathedral choir for five years before joining the Briars family. I love to sing things that challenge my voice – but that ranges from Whitney Houston to Handels Messiah! My favourite food is probably pavlova with fresh fruit and brownie chunks, but not with whipped cream because it’s one thing I can’t stand. Can’t wait to get to know you all, God bless.


Hi, I’m Matt and I’m from St Ann’s parish in Buxton (where the water comes from). I joined The Briars team as I wanted to grow in faith with Christ and gain a deeper relationship with God but also to
continue the legacy of the Etchells family being on the team. In my spare time I like to play video games and sit in my room crying to how awesome ABBA are. My favourite food is lasagne and drink is Vimto.

My favourite piece of scripture is Mark 11;24 “For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.” I also have a deep love for Star Wars with my favourite film out of all being episode 3 ‘Revenge of the Sith’. My favourite thing from the tuck shop is the bouncy ball as I love to throw them everywhere.


Hi, my name is Niamh and I am team member on The Briars team but I am also part of the ‘Step into the Gap’ programme run by CAFOD. I come from Belper and attended school in Derby. In my spare time, I like to do things such as play my acoustic guitar and write songs. I am also a huge extrovert and love to spend time with others.

I have just spent a year working as a performer at Alton Towers but decided to apply to be part of The Briars team as I have a huge passion for working with young people and creating an exciting and creative platform for them to celebrate their faith. I can not wait to see where the year ahead takes me and the incredible, life changing things we will be getting up to here at The Briars. I encourage everyone to keep up with our YouTube channel NDCYSlive and our social media sites so you can all follow our journey too.


Hello everyone! My name is Will I am the only second year on this team I decided to do another year as I want to keep challenging myself and try new experiences that a second year gets. I come from an incredible little village called Brassington where the windmills are that you can see from The Briars. 

My favourite scripture is the parting of the Red Sea. I’m from all saints parish in Ashbourne. I like to lead and live a very exotic life. My favourite item from the tuck shop is the mug they are amazing and everyone should buy one when they come up here.My favourite console is the ‘Nintendo Switch’ and I’ve completed all the Mario Karts In my spare time I like to play my guitar and Vlog on Snapchat.

Father Jonathan:

‘Hello Everyone I’m Fr. Jonathan! I am Chaplain to The Briars which is just one of my many roles as a priest! I have been a priest for 42 years [!] and lived at The Briars for 4 years in 1980’s as Vocations Director when Fr. Michael O’Donoghue was Director of The Briars. I am from Nottingham and was ordained priest in the Church at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. I have worked at the Cathedral, in Matlock, Shirebrook and currently Assistant Priest in Our Lady & St. Edward’s Church, St. Anne’s, Nottingham with Fr. Paul Newman – another former Director – assisting Fr. Paul as Vocations Director!

I celebrate Mass & Reconciliation [Confession] for the visiting groups and spend time with The Briars Team supporting them in their spiritual lives & their faith development. When in Matlock, I lived in Community in The Nottingham Pilgrims Community for 18 years with young people on a gap year – they were like a Briars Team but going out to schools and youth groups around the Diocese – like the Briars Reach 4 Team. I am a Canon in the Cathedral Chapter [like an advisory group for the Bishop] and the Spiritual Advisor to the Deacons in the Diocese. I absolutely love going to the Cinema, walking and drinking the occasional glass of red wine or a pint of Guinness! But, whatever you do, don’t ask me what my favourite Band is!’


Hello! I’m Charles, I am one of the Programme Leaders here at ‘The Briars’. This is my second year here and I love it! I wanted to be part of The Briars family because it formed such an integral part of my youth and I want everyone to be able to get that experience when they come here.

I am originally from Essex but have lived in the best county in the Diocese (Rutland) for the last 17 years. I am part of Saint Joseph’s parish in Oakham and my favourite piece of scripture from The Bible is ‘John 3:16’. In my spare time I love to bake and watch ‘The Great British Bake Off’. To find out more about what we get up to here check us out @NDCYS on all social media platforms and YouTube @NDCYSLIVE.

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