last updated on: 31st Jan 2014
Welcome to the new Leicester Diocesan Social Responsibility pages!
Social Responsibility can be interpreted and worked through in many different ways. The identified strands below do not encompass SR in its entirety, but provide links to information on some of what is happening in Leicester Diocese in those areas, and also links to information and useful resources for background reading and planning purposes.
We hope you will find them of interest and of use. We welcome comments, information and suggestions for developing this site as a resource base.
You can view our policy and rationale below
Social Responsibility strands
- Planning a project
- Poverty and debt
- The wider picture
- Criminal justice
- Housing & homelessness
- Asylum seekers and refugees
For information on the following please click on the link:
Diocesan & Cathedral Social Responsibility Enabler
Revd Alison Adams
0116 261 5333
What is Social Responsibility?
While there may be intuitive understanding, there is no universal definition of what exactly lies under this ‘umbrella’. Furthermore, different language may be used to express similar understandings and not everyone uses the term ‘Social Responsibility’. We have chosen to retain this language and our webpages therefore broadly identify a core SR remit, while not being wholly precise in the details.
The Diocese aims for some central awareness across the spectrum and the ability to signpost, while recognising that we have to prioritise in terms of action. Our current priority areas of particular concern lie around poverty, debt and hunger; but this does not mean we are not concerned about the wider picture; and there are many useful resources on other issues to be found on this website, which we shall aim continually to develop.
There is a central Diocesan officer; but some areas, namely currently food banks, church tourism, the environment and HIV/AIDS have specialist officers or points of contact. International affairs do not currently form part of the Social Responsibility brief.
Hopefully our headings, as listed on the main Social Responsibility page, are sufficiently clear. Each one is huge in its own right but both cross-cutting, many of them lending themselves to subdivision and often transcending any separation into city and county.
We aim for a twin-pronged approach:
- The development of strategic involvement and partnership at Diocesan and area/regional level, where we have a knowledge, perspective and expertise, to enable the Church’s voice to be heard and action to be taken. Given the uniquely placed network we are, to bring that network to bear collectively, on issues which require a regional, multi-agency approach, raising questions, rolling our sleeves up and challenging where necessary at the right levels.
- To support local ownership of local situations, recognising that these are not exclusively the preserve of the Church, but carry an imperative to look outward beyond our worshipping communities. To recognise, identify, attempt to understand and address need and suffering wherever we can, working in partnership with or supporting organisations with expertise in those areas, or, if appropriate, developing new local initiatives transformationally to address gaps.
In terms of strategic involvement, we hope that the Church is both recognised as a potentially significant player for social transformation and enabled to fulfil that role by bringing to the appropriate ‘tables’ its local knowledge, skills and physical resources and hopefully wisdom in seeking long term sustainable approaches to serious issues and in potentially partnering in service delivery. As well as building upon existing embedded connections and proven well-respected activities, we recognise there is a task ahead in widening our local strategic links, assessing what is needed in order to get ourselves into a position to offer delivery or to support others in that task and being clear about our assets and what we have to offer. We will, if necessary, seek to challenge peoples’ perceptions, where they feel the Church has little or no part to play in these aspects of civic life. This latter is best addressed through action: if we are seen by our actions to care and to be effective, then we will be taken seriously.
Equally, if the Church at grassroots level is to understand and own this imperative, and feel empowered to take action, then much action has to be built ‘bottom up’. This enables individuals to feel they have something directly to contribute, including prayer, to offer their particular skills and, in the doing, to learn and grow in faith. It enables local Church teams better to own their understanding of mission in their particular context, and to develop a valuable corporate skill set. It enables the local community better to understand the Church as a loving, self-giving community, with a heart and concern for all people and with the desire to make a difference in their area and it should, ultimately, lead to a fruitful Diocesan-wide networked approach.
In both cases, the aim is not to duplicate existing initiatives, whether they have a Church connection or not, but, firstly, to affirm and support good, wholesome and effective interventions which make a different to peoples’ lives. Secondly, we look to support and encourage the development of further interventions, carefully scoped and resourced, which both address areas of clear need, are able to make a difference and are sustainable.
Some key points informing our current priorities and actions:
- Churches intuitively know their ‘patch’, have a unique inroad into the local community, valuable assets in terms of people and buildings and are already providing valued contributions which, however small, we should celebrate;
- Inbuilt into our faith is an understanding of holistic attention, the importance of the individual and the fact that neither people are economic units nor should care become merely a commodity;
- The established Church carries within its DNA a commitment to localism and seeing things through, together with the structure to act regionally and nationally;
- The Church of England has porous boundaries in that there will be people with an affiliation or sense of ownership within the wider community and with professional skills whose energies could be harnessed for the common good;
- The Church has the ability and often the tacit mandate to speak on behalf of others and the ability to broker within Christianity and across faiths.