Catholic Marriage Care are the largest faith-based provider of relationship support services in England and Wales. Operating in Brentwood Diocese through our Ilford, Southend, Chelmsford and Colchester centres we are committed in all aspects of our work to sharing the real joy of the Catholic understanding of marriage and family life, as good news for all people.
We believe that healthy relationships make for better lives, more stable families and a stronger society.

Catholic Marriage Care has been supporting people on their relationship journeys for over 70 years. Working across England and Wales our team of nearly 700 trained and passionate volunteers provide marriage preparation and relationship counselling at a low cost through our 50 centres and 100 counselling locations. We are the second largest relationship counselling provider and the largest single provider of marriage preparation in the UK.

We believe everyone has the right to have the strongest start to their marriage, the chance to nurture their relationship and find support when things get tough. Supporting couple relationships is a matter of social justice. Poor relationships lead to greater inequalities and injustice in our society. Couples and families often feel isolated, under pressure and struggle to be open about the challenges they face and seek the support they need. We want to change this and together we can do so by helping….

couples have the best possible start – our marriage preparation courses help equip couples getting married or committing to a long-term relationship by giving them insights, clarity and confidence to build the best possible future together. Each year, we help around 3000 couples to prepare for marriage, the vast majority planning to marry within the Catholic Church
couples nurture their relationship – we support couples who are approaching retirement to help build resilience. Face to face counselling, through our over 50’s marriage MOT, provides couples with the resources and thinking space to face the changes emerging from a future life together. – This is currently only available in a few diocese
couples to restore and repair their relationship – our relationship counselling service is there for anyone who find themselves in need of relationship support. Our support is compassionate, practical and available to all. Each year we support in excess of 2,000 people across more than 100 locations.
educate children and young people – our relationship education curriculum helps children and young people understand what it takes to make and maintain cohesive and harmonious relationships
to raise awareness through resources for churches, teachers and parents to help increase understanding of relationship issues. Enabling as many people as possible to build strong and fulfilling relationships.

We need people like you to help us make this change. We are looking for volunteers who share our passion for strengthening couple relationships – in the good times and bad – and who resonate with our Catholic /Christian ethos and values. There is a place for everyone at Marriage Care- whether you would like to be up front working with couples to prepare them for marriage or behind the scenes supporting our centre teams in administrative ways; whether you prefer to lead in a Head of Centre role or be in a networking role helping Marriage Care promote its services and volunteer opportunities within the Catholic community.

We have a number of rewarding roles at our Colchester & Ipswich and Chelmsford centres- please see below for more information and visit our volunteer webpage for more information –

Head of Centre – Would you like to coordinate a talented team of volunteers making a valuable contribution to your community? We’re looking for people who thrive on motivating teams, have management and leadership experience and an appreciation for the traditions, structures and current developments in the Catholic Church to take on this challenging and rewarding role. Our Chelmsford and Colchester & Ipswich centres are looking for Heads of Centres.

FOCCUS Facilitator – This is an exciting and fulfilling role where you can help prepare couples for the lifelong commitment of marriage. If you are a good communicator with experience of marriage within the Catholic Church you can train to be a FOCCUS© Facilitator and use this questionnaire based relationship tool to help couples understand their relationship better and see where improvements can be made. Our Chelmsford Centre are looking for FOCCUS Facilitators.

Qualified Relationship Counsellor – We are looking for qualified relationship counsellors who hold a recognised relationship counselling qualification and have over 150hours supervised relationship counselling practice to help us in our mission to support couples in distress regardless of their ability. Our Chelmsford Centre are looking for Qualified Relationship Counsellors.

Marriage Preparation Coordinator – Do you love to organise events?- What could be more satisfying than knowing you have enabled the smooth running of our Preparing Together days- a day that will affect the lives of our couples long after their wedding day. Enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of coordinating this vital marriage preparation service in your local area. Our Colchester & Ipswich Centre are looking for MP Coordinators

Secretary/Administrator – Providing administrative support for the centre, drafting and distributing agendas and writing minutes for meetings. Don’t want a front-line role but want to be part of a friendly local team and assist the effective communications? This could be the role for you! Our Chelmsford centre are looking for a Secretary.

Parish Liaison – This is a networking and relationship building role where you will be helping Marriage Care extend its services and recruit more volunteers through building positive relationships with local clergy and parishes – delivering pulpit talks or talks at deanery meetings and taking part in events. This role requires someone with experience of the Catholic Church- whether being involved in a parish or having voluntary or other experience working in a Catholic parish. Our Colchester & Ipswich Centre are looking for Parish Liaisons.

Parish Advocate – Micro Volunteer role – Would you like to help Marriage Care but don’t have the time to commit? Why not become a Parish Advocate, promoting our services and volunteer vacancies through word of mouth, ensuring our leaflets are on display in the church and perhaps delivering a pulpit talk once a year? Our Colchester & Ipswich Centre are looking for Parish Advocates.

Glenda is the Head of Centre at the Ilford and Southend Centre, she also holds a number of other roles with Marriage Care including Counsellor, Supervisor and Trustee.

I joined the Catholic Marriage Advisory Bureau, later to be called Marriage Care, 27 years ago as a
Marriage Preparation Facilitator and two years later I became a counsellor. The training, love and care I received during what were some of the most difficult times in my life really helped me to be the person I am today.
I can say we are a family of love all striving for the same goal which is to help couples prepare for Marriage and to nurture them though their own journey if they have any problems.
As one of the Trainers for Marriage Preparation I can say we work together to ensure that new volunteers get the best training possible and that they are well prepared to deliver to the highest standard – ensuring that God is at the centre of all we do.
At the heart of my various roles in Marriage Care is my belief that the vows we undertake on the day of Marriage begin a life long journey. After 46 years of Marriage with the loss of my young son aged 16, couples need to understand that the promises they make to each other are not fickle but a light burning brightly, when the light flickers and they cannot resolve differences we – Marriage Care – are there for them, we always welcome them to the family of Marriage Care.
When a couple say thank you for a lovely day it makes me happy, when a couple say they want to be a volunteer because Marriage Care helped and they want to give something back or when I get a letter from a priest saying that the couples are very happy with their marriage preparation day I thank God for giving us the gift of love.
Marriage Care has taught me patience, kindness, tolerance, acceptance and love.

We asked a couple who had done our FOCCUS Marriage Preparation course to share their story and the difference the course has made to their relationship:

Kris and Clare’s FOCCUS experience:

It was really interesting. Clare and I are very open with each other and discuss everything so believed we knew everything about each other – but this session raised points we simply had not considered. It was great to get them on the table and see how each other’s opinions were different. It was equally nice to see the many areas were aligned & compatible and reinforced our relationship.

There were some surprises. One example is whether you would accept financial help from your family if we fell on hard times – I answered “yes” – but totally surprisingly to me Clare had answered “no…We discussed with Liz and continued further when at home. We have now fully agreed on an agreed course of action should it ever occur. This has saved us the stress of having (unknown) opposing opinions in the event we did fall on hard times – which would be stressful enough. There were several of these examples and we are so glad these are now on the table.

The best takeaway was the importance of making time for communication. Whilst Clare and I are very good at communicating – at times our busy work & family life can take over and get in the way. The greatest gift we can give each other is time – to listen and talk. We try harder to do this now. We feel extremely comfortable and even more secure than we did before. Whilst marriage is a journey for which we cannot plan for every eventuality – being more prepared for where we differ and knowing we are aligned and able to communicate clearly – will certainly make life easier.

We cannot thank our facilitator Liz enough for how professional and supportive she was. Some other deep-rooted areas – about us as individuals – came out of the discussions and Liz has really helped us understand these and talk about them more openly. By the end of the session – we left smiling together, giggling and feeling very happy and comfortable. Clare and I are closer than ever from this experience.