2018 Conference reports – Council for Social Responsibility

Promoting social responsibility as a fundamental element of a living faith.

Review of 2017:

  • The Revd Christopher Lewis–Jenkins was appointed to the role of Social Responsibility Officer, by the Bishop in June 2017;
  • The Revd David Jenkins and his wife Gaynor who are Dementia Friends Champions continue to offer basic training to parishes;
  • The Council continues its link with the work of Tir Dewi and the training of volunteers;
  • There is an ongoing partnership with CMD training initiatives: Mental Health Awareness last November; and Plant Dewi presented as part of the CMD day in September and positive feedback was forthcoming;
  • The Council has leased a building in Pembroke Dock called the HUB, to advance the work of the DCSR and Plant Dewi in Pembrokeshire;
  • There were presentations to the Council by Revd Linda Edwards of Narberth, who is the leader of All Things Adlerian in Wales; by Jane Shaw on domestic abuse; and by Sheila O`Connor and Peter Loughran on the service Age Cymru provides to the over 55s;
  • The Council has funded a new kitchen at St. Paul`s Family Centre Llanelli.

Future aims:

  • To re-energise and work closely with existing support groups and to also help establish new support groups in all areas of the diocese;
  • To look at the feasibility of employing a part time person, responsible for seeking out grants and gaining funding for Plant Dewi and for future projects;
  • To make necessary improvements to 21 King Street (within a tight budget) to facilitate an office move to there from Red Street;
  • To continue to expand the membership and encourage representation on the council from all the deaneries;
  • To facilitate an up to date and relevant database of helplines;
  • To engage more volunteers for the Plant Dewi shop and the Family Centres;
  • To develop a Plant Dewi Sunday. This would involve producing material for the worship on that day similar to our Christingle Pack;
  • To continue the complex work of re- branding and re-launching the DCSR;
  • To foster a closer link with the DBF;
  • To deliver the CMD day with Bishop Joanna on 22nd of November at the University of Wales Trinity St. David, Carmarthen Campus on the issues around violence against women;
  • To look at the possibility of link with the new Archdeaconry for Mission and New Church Communities. Possibly to be classed as a parish within that Archdeaconry to receive the pastoral care and fellowship needed

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OFFICER (SRO)

The first place to start as the newly appointed Diocesan Social Responsibility Officer was to familiarise myself with the tremendous work being done by the DCSR and Plant Dewi. I have now visited many of the Plant Dewi projects and have started to build a picture of activity across the Diocese.

The hope now is that I can offer my ideas and invite others to share their visions for the future. The “Wish-You-Well-Appeal-Day” was one such idea, with the appeal culminating in a service of thanksgiving and celebration of Plant Dewi on 15th September at St Davids Cathedral.

I am now part of the England and Wales SRO Network, who have their Conference in October 2018; I also represent the Diocese and its interests on a Provincial committee which runs in conjunction with The Children’s Society.

I am planning a gathering of other SRO’s in the Province with the aim of discussing what each Diocese is doing and to share best practices.

It is my aim in the future to attend as many LMA / Deanery meetings as possible in order to make myself known, raise awareness of the good work of Plant Dewi, highlight their needs, and offer assistance at parish level.

My thanks go to all my colleagues on DCSR and everyone who works so hard for and with Plant Dewi.

PLANT DEWI

Last year Plant Dewi worked with 5025 individuals.

The change that Plant Dewi projects make can be as simple as seeing a family grow in confidence as a result of friendships made; or seeing a mother with mild post- natal depression start to thrive after attending a mother and baby group. The friendships that develop in the projects provide valuable resources of emotional, informational, and practical support, where families are enabled to move forward with hope and confidence.

Plant Dewi enters its seventeenth year in August and its projects are now firmly rooted in their communities. St Paul’s Family Centre, for example, hosts a multi-cultural group where individuals can learn English and gain support. It has strong links with the police and community safety groups, who work to tackle local issues and crime. Through them, there are connections to the most vulnerable members of the community. Pencader Family Centre operates a community food co-operative and delivers food in the community. Burry Port and Felinfoel family centres reach out of their immediate community to provide Parent and Child play sessions in Pembrey, Kidwelly and Llanelli town. Felinfoel Family Centre held a “Family Festival” following their awareness that Felinfoel hadn’t had a summer carnival for around 10 years. 400 people attended the event which they hope will become an annual event. Garnant Family Centre facilitates a Get Up and Grow gardening session on a Saturday morning for the community.

Over the past year the centres have become involved in intergeneration work. Llandysul and Lampeter family centres regularly attend residential homes and Trimsaran and Llanybydder centres are actually based in residential homes. Families report feelings of having done something of value, whilst residents report renewed feelings of being part of the community and the joy of having contact with families who were interested in them and their life stories. Young parents have started to move on in life following the support of such groups.

The Plant Dewi Hub in Pembroke Dock is now delivering a Men’s Drop In and Healthy Heart Project; a Lego Club targeting dads and their children; and a young parents’ group.

The challenges for the future will be to maintain the funding needed to continue our work with families and to develop our projects in Pembrokeshire. We are pleased to have recently attracted funding to work with young parents on the Mount Estate, Milford Haven and in Merlin’s Bridge.

Thanks go to the staff for their dedication to their work and to our supporters who continue to make our work possible.