Parish Safeguarding Officers from across the Diocese of Sheffield have come together to affirm each other and receive encouragement from senior clergy.
A Parish Safeguarding Officer Celebration Day was held on 24 June at the New York Stadium in Rotherham. Nearly 40 officers attended and were greeted by the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, along with the Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, the Venerable Malcolm Chamberlain and Bishop Pete’s Chaplain Harry Steele.
The Diocese’s Safeguarding Team (Sian Checkley, Elina Penttila, Deborah Corker-Vaughan, Rachel Tankard and Revd Chris Herbert) were at the event throughout the day to meet with officers and answer any questions they had.
Keynote speaker Rebecca Bool, DBS Regional Outreach Adviser for Yorkshire & The Humber, gave a talk in the morning and responded to a flurry of questions from officers attending. The day ended with the Commissioning of PSOs and the Safeguarding Team by Bishop Pete, who began by saying:
‘Welcome to this service of commissioning to give thanks for and recognise the ministry of those working for the good of all in the area of safeguarding. Today we have all recalled our commitment to do our part to make and keep the Diocese of Sheffield a safer place, and now we give thanks for those involved in particular roles in that vital task. In this short service we also hold in our hearts all those who have been hurt or harmed by actions or inaction relating to safeguarding.’
It’s hoped a similar event can be planned for 2024 following the enthusiastic response from everyone involved in June.
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser Sian Checkley said:
‘I have wanted to bring PSOs together in a day like this for some time, to recognise the difficult role they undertake, celebrate their ministry and commission them (and the safeguarding team) to continue in a role that for many is a vocation. It was wonderful to see all our planning come to fruition in a day which was a true celebration.’
The Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox, said:
‘The PSO day was so worthwhile and so much appreciated by participants that we were left wondering how it had taken us so long to dream up the idea! The DBS briefing was particularly valuable, but as so often on such occasions participants also greatly valued the informal networking and the sense of affirmation of their vital role. I hope in a small way the day will have helped to make the Diocese of Sheffield even more safe for all.’
Rebecca Bool, DBS Regional Outreach Adviser for Yorkshire & The Humber, said:
‘It was a great opportunity to be invited to the Diocese of Sheffield PSO event. Through this event DBS were given the opportunity to share insights and advice into our services and mutually push forward key messages about how the DBS and Church of England can continue to all work together on our shared commitments within the safeguarding agenda.
‘The Q&A panel was highly valuable, giving opportunity for specific questions to be answered, sharing knowledge & information and assisting me as DBS Regional Outreach Adviser to make important connections, providing a link to all the PSOs for any bespoke information, advice or guidance relating to DBS.
‘This was such a useful and important event with some great outcomes achieved for all and DBS look forward to taking part again in 2024.’