Protecting the Vulnerable
Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is a vital part of a church’s ministry to its local community. Rachel Dalby introduces us to a new safeguarding provider that is seeking to serve FIEC churches with help and advice.
Churches looking for advice and training on safeguarding now have more choice, with the launch of specially tailored packages being offered at a discount to FIEC member churches.
Paul and Sue Harrison, who run Christian Safeguarding Services (CSS), are keen to help our network of churches become a shining example when it comes to protecting children and adults from harm and abuse.
They especially want to help churches with existing safeguarding policies to update and enhance their documents and practices.
Keeping up with Legislation
Paul, a teaching elder at Grace Church, Loughborough, which is an FIEC church, said he and his wife have already helped many churches that had assumed they’d got safeguarding covered. “In most cases, there was much more they needed to do,” he said.
“When the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 came into force, churches put a document in a folder which they’ve since read annually to their Sunday school leaders. But things have moved on, and those churches are now in danger of being left in a time warp.
“It’s vital to keep up to date with legislation and ensure that everyone in church is properly trained to work with, and protect, the wide diversity of people who come through our doors each week.”
CSS will be running a safeguarding seminar at FIEC’s Leaders’ Conference, which will run from 12th to 14th November in Torquay. During their seminar, Paul and Sue will be outlining what they can offer to independent churches.
Resources for Churches
All churches may sign-up to receive a free regular newsletter, which provides safeguarding news and information on legislation updates.
On top of this, FIEC churches that would like advice and resources to implement themselves are being offered discounted subscriptions to CSS’s Basic Membership package. This gives churches access to member-only resources, including model documents.
For churches that need help with writing and implementing safeguarding policies and practices, Full Membership brings enhanced resources including webinars, and discounts on a range of ‘per seat’ and ‘whole church’ training courses. CSS’s training can be delivered on churches’ own premises, or at a location where two or three churches can meet together to share the cost of a session.
Full Membership also includes CSS’s administration charge for up to five DBS checks per year (the usual DBS fees still apply, and are passed on at cost).
Paul said: “When it comes to standards in protecting children and vulnerable adults, we want churches to be the best! Looking after one another, and those who visit our churches, is an important part of church life.”
Paul and Sue spent their early careers as advocates for families with who had children with disabilities, and, in 2012, Paul launched a consultancy to provide safeguarding training and support to local authorities and charities. Sue was also delivering safeguarding training to social care, and between them they built up a huge amount of knowledge and experience.
Sue said: “We delivered training sessions in a number of churches in the Midlands and the north of England, as the result of friends’ requests, and we then realised we were being called to an even bigger job than we’d first thought!
“We saw first-hand that churches urgently needed help to untangle all the safeguarding legal jargon and understand how to put safeguarding into effective action.”
Throughout 2018 the couple geared up their resources and launched a new website. Earlier this year they began promoting their services to FIEC churches and featured in our Autumn edition of Together magazine.
More information about CSS’s services, their membership packages and the discounts available to FIEC churches can be found on this webpage.
To coincide with Paul and Sue’s seminar at our Leaders’ Conference, CSS is offering all FIEC churches the chance to sign up for Basic or Full Membership at a 50% discount between now and the end of 2018.