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Return of Parish Safeguarding Officer Day commissions volunteers across the Diocese


Another successful Parish Safeguarding Officer Day has been held in the Diocese of Sheffield after the inaugural event last year received a positive reception.

Held on Saturday 8th June at the Doncaster Knights rugby stadium, the 2024 PSO Day featured guest speakers Graeme and Jan Pringle, Sue Prestwood and Carolina Kuzaks-Cardenas. Also attending were senior Diocesan clergy, including the Bishop of Doncaster, the Rt Revd Sophie Jelley; the Venerable Malcolm Chamberlain, Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham; the Venerable Javaid Iqbal, Archdeacon of Doncaster and the Revd Harry Steele, Chaplain to the Bishop of Sheffield.

The Diocese’s Safeguarding Team were at the event throughout the day to greet officers and to answer any questions. The team is made up of Sian Checkley, Elina Penttila, Deborah Corker-Vaughan and Rachel Tankard, and were joined for the first time by our new Diocesan Safeguarding Trainer Claire Sayce.

Beginning the day with welcome and opening worship, a talk was then held by Graeme and Jan Pringle on dashboards and hubs before further workshops on these areas and Domestic Abuse (led by Carolina Kuzaks-Cardenas). Sue Prestwood gave a presentation on ‘The Voice of the Child’ before Bishop Sophie held a bible study and then a commissioning of the officers present, including the following words:

“While Parish Safeguarding Officers are officers of their PCC and the members of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team are employed by the Diocese, having an active Christian faith is not essential to fulfil these vital roles. Whatever we believe or don’t believe about God, we share a common conviction that all people should be valued and respected, and a common commitment to ensuring our church communities and organisations are safe places. This day presents me with an opportunity to pray for you in your vital work in our Diocese and to commission you for the roles you’ve undertaken. Some of you may prefer not to take part in this because of your own faith integrity, and that is fine. Please be assured that you are as highly valued as those who choose to join in the following responses and be commissioned.”

A Q+A took place in the afternoon, with the panel of Siân Checkley, Malcolm Chamberlain, Sue Prestwood, Graeme Pringle and Carolina Kuzaks-Cardenas answering any questions from the floor. Closing worship and prayers were conducted by Harry Steele to close the event.

Some of the feedback from attendees included the following reflections:

  • Generally well organised with good speakers
  • Overall an informative and helpful day.
  • To hear Bishop Sophie say that she prays for her PSOs was both encouraging and affirming. The commissioning service was spiritually powerful and I left the event feeling valued and uplifted.
  • The day was filled with fellowship and support. It was both prayerful and practical. I learnt lots.

Our next Parish Safeguarding Officer Day will take place on Saturday 17th May 2025 at the OEC in Sheffield.