2019 Flower festival

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Safeguarding officer for St Thomas is Margaret Howie (dandmhowie@icloud.com)

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contact details for the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser (T: 07342 993 844 E: StephH@cofebirmingham.com)

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Safeguarding policy 2016


To meet the requirements of the Children’s Acts


Agreed by PCC at their meeting on 1st March 2016

The Parochial Church Council of St Thomas Hockley Heath and Nuthurst give paramount importance to the nurture and care of children and young people.

In our Church family we believe that our attitude to them, and the way we treat them, must reflect the love that God has for them. We recognise our responsibility to guard against the possibility of physical, sexual, emotional and other forms of abuse against children and young people, by persons who may be acting in the name of our Church

Accordingly, in accordance with the House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy Protecting All Gods Children 4th Edition 2010 and the Diocesan Guidelines 2009 we recognise the need to:-

  1. Raise awareness of the need for Safeguarding children and promote understanding of it.
  1. Develop a structured procedure to be followed by everyone involved in working with children and young people in our Church.

For the purposes of this Policy and its Procedures, “children and young people” are under eighteen years of age


  • The policy will be displayed on the church notice board and copies are available from the parish office or from the Parish Safeguarding Children’s Co-ordinator.
  • Parents of every child attending Church activities will be informed that the Policy is displayed

and will receive a copy if they wish.

  • The Policy and Procedure will be reviewed annually by the Parochial Church Council (PCC), or a subcommittee appointed for that purpose. The review date will be brought forward should a specific need arise.
  • The Policy and Procedure will be given to Church Volunteers and workers who come into contact with children in connection with a Church activity.
  • Regular Training and guidance will be given to Church Volunteers and workers who come into contact with children in connection with a Church activity, on the policy, procedure and


  • Other organisations working with children on the church premises should have their own Safeguarding Children Policies and Procedures and the PCC should ask to see these.

Purpose of this guidance

 To safeguard, care for and nurture children and young people in our church and our community.

  • To inform those involved with children and young people in our church of the behaviour expected of them.
  • To set out the procedure for background checks of those involved with children and young people in our church.
  • To protect adult members of the church from malicious or false accusations of abuse.

Gods Children: Our Diocese

Statement of Values 

  • The welfare of children will be given first priority. 
  • The spiritual welfare of children will be seen as particularly important. 
  • Well informed professional standards of care will be demonstrated. 
  • The procedures to protect children will be open and made clear to all. 
  • The welfare of children will have priority over the interests of the establishments 

What is abuse? 

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 identifies four categories of child abuse, which are

deemed to be forms of significant harm:

Neglect – the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological need, likely to

result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during

pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve

a parent or carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
  • Protect a child from physical and emotional harm and danger;
  • Ensure adequate supervision(including the use of inadequate care-givers);
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care and treatment.

It may also include neglect of, unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

Physical abuse – may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Sexual abuse – involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration eg rape or oral sex, or non-penetrative acts eg masturbation, kissing, touching the outside if clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of, or looking at sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the Internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Emotional abuse – is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ridiculing what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration or learning or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve the seeing or hearing of the ill treatment of another eg domestic violence situations, serious bullying, including cyber bullying; causing a child to feel frightened or in danger. Some level if emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child but it may occur as the sole or main form of abuse.

Who abuses children?

There is no typical situation or environment in which a child may be abused although many children are abused by their parents.

Children maybe abused in an institution or community setting by those known to them or in some cases, though more rarely, by a stranger.

Child abuse takes place in all areas of society, within all cultures and within all socio-economic groups.The majority of abusers of children are men however women do abuse children and may collude with the abuser often through fear.








  • Volunteers and workers will meet with the incumbent to discuss this policy. During an

Interregnum this responsibility passes to the Area Dean.

  • All paid workers employed by the Church whose roles are eligible for a DBS check must be screened through the Disclosure and Barring Service. Thomas PCC has agreed to screening under the umbrella of the Diocese. The Vicar and the Parish Safeguarding Children Co-ordinator have details of the procedures.


  • Volunteers, Churchwardens, and any church member likely to come into contact with children where their role is eligible for a DBS check, this must be applied for before the individual takes up their post. They must sign the declaration form provided by the Bishop of Birmingham, show their birth certificate or an up to date Passport or Driving Licence and provide two references. It is our policy to screen churchwardens and all new volunteers.


  • The Incumbent will take up references on each new volunteer or worker new to the post.


  • The Incumbent reserves the right to refuse to accept the services of a new volunteer or


  • If the interview, the declaration form or the screening process reveal any reasons why

someone should not work with children or young people the Bishop should be informed.

  • Should a volunteer or worker be convicted of a criminal offence with regard to children, or

Receive an official caution in this regard subsequently to completing a declaration form

they must inform the Incumbent.




All records relating to interviews, declarations and screening should be kept by the Incumbent in a secure and confidential manner, indefinitely.

During an interregnum these should be passed to the Area Dean for safe keeping.  The same should happen with all other records and notes relating to child protection.



During a new worker or volunteer’s meeting with the Incumbent, they will be guided in

understanding appropriate behaviour with children, to ensure protection of both the child and

worker/volunteer.  (See Appendix A)


Workers and volunteers will be required to attend training courses as appropriate.

Workers and volunteers should know who they should contact if they have any concerns.








Reporting of suspected abuse..


  • Allegations and incidents about a particular child, or worker/volunteer, will be reported to the Incumbent, directly or through the Parish Safeguarding Children Co-ordinator, (or, in the absence of both to one of the Church Wardens)


  • Allegations and incidents about a member of the clergy (including the Incumbent) will be reported to the Bishop’s Safeguarding Children Adviser by contacting the Bishop’s office

Concerns will be recorded in line with Appendix B.

  • The Incumbent should report concerns to the proper authorities as outlined in the document: ‘God’s Children:Our Diocese’ issued by the Diocese of Birmingham. If a direct allegation of abuse is reported The Incumbent must report it in accordance with above


Staffing ratios


  • In most circumstances at least two adults will be present in the room at each activity in which children or young people are included.

In other circumstances, agreed with a member of the clergy, where only one adult is present in the room in which children or young people are included, there will be other adults present in the building. In this circumstance it will be recommended that the room has a window in the door or the door is left ajar.

  • Staffing ratios in relation to age of child will be in line with Diocesan advice. See Appendix C


Activities run by the church but not on church premises


  • Parents will be required to sign a consent form prior to a child/young person taking part in an activity run by the Church, but away from its normal location.




  • It is wise to be cautious about taking photographs of children in connection with Church activities. Photographs should only be taken and/or displayed with the prior consent of parents. The names of the children should not be displayed with the photograph nor should photographs be published on the internet. There is a parish pro-forma which can be used to

obtain written parental consent.


Mobile phones, texts, emails

  • Inform the child’s parent or carer first that you intend to communicate with the child using this form if communication and obtain their consent first.
  • Always send group texts and emails and not individually and send a copy to another leader.
  • Save messages as text files to ensure an open record exists










Advice to be discussed with a new volunteer prior to commencement of work with children.

  • In the event of any injury to a child, accidental or otherwise, ensure that it is entered in the accident book.
  • . Keep records of any matters of concern, which could include:
  • cases where a child feels they have been treated unfairly
  • cases where a child behaves in an inappropriate fashion.


  • If a child behaves in a sexually inappropriate manner, explain that the behaviour is not acceptable, but do not make the child feel guilty.


  • If you take children on journeys, as part of Church activities, Diocesan Guidelines must be adhered to.


  • If you are in a residential setting, never, under any circumstances, take a child or children into your bedroom.


  • It would be advisable to have another person present when changing nappies or clothing. Never do something of a personal nature for children that they can do themselves. This includes cleaning bottoms, unbuttoning trouser buttons, or any activity that could be misconstrued.


  • Do not go into the toilet alone with a child / children. Assistance can be sought from the child’s parents or another responsible adult.
  • Be mindful of how and where you touch children. Try to avoid physical contact with a child that could be misconstrued, either by the child or by an onlooker.


  • If you must physically restrain a child for any reason, be aware that it could be misinterpreted as assault.








Advice on how and what to record in the event of any injury to a child, accidental or otherwise, or any allegations against a worker/helper.

Confidentiality is to be ensured.

If you suspect abuse or if an allegation is made to you.

  • The responsibility to report children thought to be at risk rests with the individual who identifies the concern, regardless of their position within the church. The church has a responsibility, through its own procedures, to ensure that the matter is reported to Social Services. Final responsibility for this rests with the incumbent.
  • Consult the person to whom you are responsible, or the person you are authorised to inform. You should know who this is and be able to contact them.
  • Do not inform any unauthorised people
  • Do not do any investigating yourself. This is the role and responsibility of the statutory agencies They will work in partnership with parents to support them in carrying out their parental responsibilities. Where this conflicts with the child’s welfare, it will he necessary to set limits to parents’ participation and direct involvement with the child. The child’s involvement in the protection process will be encouraged in accordance with their age and level of understanding.
  • Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services) are legally the only body allowed to deal with reported abuse, and they will follow up every report. The police will always be involved. The great majority of investigations do not result in the removal of a child from home. The emphasis is on seeking to support and rebuild the family as a whole unit, rather than breaking it up.
  • Make an accurate note of your suspicions, recording dates, times and places. Use the actual language used by the child or young person, not a tidied-up version.
  • Once reported, you will have no control over what happens. If you wish to continue to be involved, continue your contact with Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services). If this is by telephone, follow it up in writing.
  • You may be asked to attend a case conference or provide information.
  • You must not take responsibility for making a judgement about the allegation. The child or adult will have needed much courage to get this far. The protection of the young person is the priority.
  • Expect to have to handle your own strong feelings. You will need support. Clergy can contact the Bishop’s Safeguarding Children’s Adviser for information on persons outside a situation who could provide support to a reporting person.
  • Social workers in child protection are trained for this work to apply professional judgement in pressurised and difficult circumstances, and to treat children and parents with sensitivity. With this in mind, if you are unhappy about the way in which a case has been handled, speak to Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services) and make a formal written complaint.





If a child or young person wants to talk about abuse:

If a child reaches this point, then abuse is already happening. They may have tried to tell other peers or adults and they approach you as a trusted person.

  • Allow the child to speak in their own words
  • Keep calm, do not look shocked
  • Accept what is said
  • Look at them directly and take in what is said
  • Don’t push for information or ask leading questions
  • Reassure them they were right to tell you
  • Tell them you believe them
  • Tell them you’re glad they told you
  • Pass no judgement
  • Do not promise confidentiality
  • Tell them you need to tell someone else who needs to know. (This may be the start of quite an ordeal for the child or young person)



If an allegation of child abuse is brought to a member of the Church, they should immediately inform the Incumbent directly or through the Parish Safeguarding Children’s Co-ordinator, or in their absence a Churchwarden.

If an allegation is considered false or a suspicion unfounded the judgement will be checked with Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services), and the Bishop’s Safeguarding Children’s Adviser in the Bishop’s Office. If they agree the person involved will be informed by the Incumbent in the presence of a third party usually the Parish Safeguarding Children’s Co-ordinator of what has happened, that no blame accrues and that action will be taken in collaboration with the Diocese to inform parents of the incident and invite them to discuss the matter further. A full record of the allegation, investigation, and outcomes will be kept as a safeguard for everyone involved

If a referral of suspected child abuse is made to Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services), the person involved will be informed by the Incumbent in the presence of a third party usually the Parish Safeguarding Children’s Co-ordinator that there is an allegation or suspicion and that the Safeguarding Children Procedures are being followed.

While allegations or suspicions are being investigated the person concerned will be asked to withdraw from all activities with Children






In a church context when a report is made to Social Services Children’s Social Care Services) certain things must he borne in mind.

It is the task of Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services) in conjunction with other agencies, to carry out an investigation. No action should be taken by the clergy or laity which would in any way compromise or unwittingly intervene in this process.

Contact the Bishop’s Safeguarding Children’s Adviser for support when a report has been made to Social Services or an allegation has been made

Clergy decisions and the boundaries of pastoral care should be clear. So that:

  • Overall leadership and pastoral care within the parish is maintained in an appropriate way
  • The clergy person is not seen to be taking sides if a survivor and an alleged perpetrator come from within the same family, community or congregation
  • The alleged victim and alleged abuser should be supported by different people.
  • All those in close proximity to the situation and those with overall responsibility are helped to find the support they need to handle their own feelings and act at all times in a way which keeps the protection of the child as a priority. (This includes the clergy and relevant workers).
  • Support, where appropriate, can be given to the non-abusing parent.
  • if and when the child returns or continues their relationship within the congregation or within a specific group, the situation is handled sensitively
  • At some point the church may want to put in place a framework to support a perpetrator who wants to stop abusing.
  • Confession and acknowledgement of responsibility should be regarded as an important first step in the restoration of an offending person working within the Church, but confession and absolution should be conducted with particular prudence, and cannot be considered as the sole basis for reinstatement to public ministry. Any action taken must maintain the safety of children and young people as of paramount importance.



Parish Telephone Numbers

St Thomas Vicarage   – Rev.  Marc Catley                                                                    01564 783121

Parish Wardens – June Hemming                                                                                            01564 742148

– Sue Allso                                                                                         01564 783699

Parish Safeguarding Children’s Co-ordinator –

Margaret Howie                                                                              01564 785141 


Other Telephone Numbers 

Social Services (Children’s Social Care Services)                                                                                           Out of hours emergency                                                                                    0121 605 6060

Solihull Police/ West Midlands Police.                                                                          0845 113 500

(Or 101 or 999)

Bishop’s Office & Chaplain                                                                                                              0121 427 1163

Bishop’s Safeguarding Children’s Adviser (Birmingham) Claire Wesley                      0121 426 0432

Bishop’s Adviser for Youth            (seeking to make a new appointment)

Secretary to the Archdeacon of (Aston)                                                        0121 426 0437

NSPCC                                                                                                                         0808 800 5000

Childline                                                                                                                                0800 1111


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Parish AGM

Here are the minutes of the parish AGM held Sunday 3rd April 2016
Minutes of2016 annual meetings

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Wednesday Lunch Club

Wednesday Lunch club

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Choir on tour, Christmas at Ravenshaw Court

Chior on tour

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Race night photos

RN 3RN 2RN 1

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Remembrance Service 2015/16

Remembrance 20150016Remembrance 20150012remembrance-16

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Welcome to St.Thomas’s

As vicar of St.Thomas’s I offer you a warm welcome to our new church website. This is a new venture for us which we hope will be informative and useful to all. Browse through the pages and we look forward to seeing you at one of our worship services or other events.


Revd. Marc Catley.

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