From Ruislip to Romford, Enfield to Epsom and all places in between, one aspect of effective safeguarding practice is to know the community in which you live and worship. This helps when you need to know whom to contact about an issue that needs to be brought to the attention of statutory authorities, but it’s also about knowing the stresses and strains of the communities which our churches serve. The District Safeguarding Conference in March 2018 emphasised our responsibilities to look beyond our walls to identify local safeguarding concerns.
But for me it’s also about the travel between settings I visit for the various meetings I attend. I’ve explored some parts of London that I’ve never previously visited and on a recent visit to the Barking, Dagenham & Ilford Circuit I managed to visit a top fish and chip shop recommended by the Waitrose magazine!
The chance to travel on several forms of public transport is also a joy because it allows for looking out of the window, people watching and hearing the odd snippet of conversation that makes you want to know more about the lives of the people sitting nearby.
It’s often the odd comment you hear or the thing you see that makes you sit up and take notice. In churches it can be over coffee at the end of service, or during the course of a meeting or a chance conversation at a social event. For safeguarders this is about having our antennae tuned to what’s happening in our churches so that if we need to we can respond swiftly and appropriately, and as a result of our training, with a sense of assurance.