Recognising the difference a volunteer can make

Published: Monday June 5, 2023

Jane BrownAfter 10 years serving as Parish Safeguarding Officer at St Lawrence, Barnwood in Gloucester, Jane Brown has now stepped down.

Popular and effective, Jane has made a lasting impression on both her worshipping community and the wider diocesan team, for her dedication, her commitment and her can-do attitude.

Her vicar, the Revd Rob Crofton said, “Jane has done a fantastic job in overseeing this important area. She’s supported me as vicar in dealing with any safeguarding issues that have arisen and ensured our PCC is regularly kept informed about safeguarding matters. She’s dealt with the reviewing and publishing of our policies and ensured that we are compliant with our procedures.

“We are all really grateful to her for all she has done. She has now handed the baton to our new PSO, Heather Walker, and we wish Jane every blessing in her next steps of serving God.”

In her time acting as PSO, Jane has raised the profile of safeguarding among the worshipping community at St Lawrence. Out of 65 roles, including clergy, church officers and volunteers, a fantastic 91% have completed the appropriate safeguarding training in the past year, to help keep them and those around them safe in the church. She’s also been responsible for keeping DBS checks up to date.

She has encouraged all the volunteers to do safeguarding training. If people were not comfortable with learning online, Jane arranged in-person sessions for them and has also helped with arranging Farsi language training for Iranian volunteers, in partnership with other churches.

She’s worked closely with the Diocesan Safeguarding team and has been a valued part of the PSO network meetings.

Becca Faal, the diocesan Strategic Lead for Safeguarding Training and Learning said, “Jane has been a delight to have in our wider team of parish safeguarding officers. She has been very dedicated to the role and has also been very encouraging and supportive to the Diocesan Safeguarding team.”

Jane says, “What a privilege it has been to be one of the first PSOs in Gloucester Diocese ten years ago. The role began then as evidence checker for the DBS process but working with Becca quickly grew and developed into a much higher-profile role with safeguarding becoming a PCC standing agenda item to ensure robust policy, discussions and reporting. I have particularly enjoyed encouraging church officers and volunteers to come to understand safeguarding and promoting the culture and training courses. A last special piece of work was to help to facilitate face-to-face training for our Iranian church volunteers.

“It has been emotional to finally step down from this role but with honour and pride to have been called by God to do this vital and rewarding work.”


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