Moving On

‘So I’ve now left the world of safeguarding behind’

This was a comment I overheard on Saturday during a walk through Windsor Great Park, the day before the great storm struck and closed it the public. I suppose we are all conditioned to hear certain buzz words that emerge from the low level hubble-bubble of conversation around us, and ‘safeguarding’ is for me, one such obvious word. Crystal Palace and Jimi Hendrix are others.

Clearly I didn’t know the circumstances – a social worker or police officer moving to a new role, or a local Methodist safeguarding officer moving on in line with the six year rule perhaps? There was no ‘yay!’ at the end nor sound of regret. It was just a matter of fact statement. I moved past the pair having their conversation and focussed on the path ahead.

It struck me later that we might, for whatever reason, leave the world of safeguarding, but I asked myself the question of whether the world of safeguarding ever leaves us? Our renewed commitment, training, and a heightened awareness is changing church culture and so although we may no longer have a specific function or responsibility, we probably can’t switch off our antennae. Which is a good thing, if we hold to the view that safeguarding is everyone’s business.

Working in safeguarding can be stressful because of what we learn about in fulfilling our role. We also know that there is a challenge to our local church volunteers in keeping on top of the essential record keeping. So maybe we should, from time to time, take a step back and enable someone else to pick up the task, to bring new energy and drive. But I’m pretty sure that if we do that, we will still maintain that sense of keeping a watchful eye and offer support when and where it is most needed. I don’t think the world of safeguarding ever quite leaves us behind.

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