Caritas Social Action Network and the St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) have released a new Toolkit to help Catholic parishes and groups develop safe, local responses to people in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Toolkit addresses the Christian call to step out in love to those excluded and at risk, throughout a time when the Government has asked people to stay at home as far as possible.
It includes examples of how parishes can offer support, advice and guidance on safeguarding, communication, dealing with health and other risks, referring people on as needed and to volunteer with other initiatives. Help could include keeping in touch with a friendly chat on the phone, shopping for food and other essential items, dog walking, help with prayer and advice on how to get involved with other initiatives locally.
The Toolkit can be adapted to local circumstances.
Dr Philip McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Social Action Network, said: “Catholic dioceses and their charities want to support local responses, and this new Toolkit draws from their experience already in supporting people at risk of increased harm, including during the pandemic. They are typically older people, those shielded from infection or suffering from Covid-19 symptoms already or in isolation with their families/housemates, and those struggling with the loss of income.
“The task is large, but the Church’s links are extensive, and we can all make a difference. This Toolkit is a great example of partnership to help more of us realise the Common Good.”
Elizabeth Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) said: “St Vincent de Paul was no stranger to pandemics. Outbursts of the plague ravaged Europe frequently in his lifetime, taking the lives of many whom he loved, but his focus always remained on the service of others. Today, SVP members across England and Wales are still continuing in that tradition of service.
“Current circumstances call for new ways of working and I am delighted that SVP members across England and Wales continue to help those in need in their local communities, in increasingly innovative ways. This Toolkit promotes collaboration and the sharing of ideas, which can only benefit those who need our help at this time.”
The Toolkit has been sent to member organisations in the Caritas Network in England and Wales, and other agencies, to adapt and make available to parishes locally. To download the Toolkit see: https://www.csan.org.uk/guidance/covid-19/
Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) is an official agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. It brings together a network of 46 local, diocesan and national charities tackling poverty and building strong communities, with members’ specialist services including for example work with older people, children and families, prisoners, refugees and people in housing difficulties.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need. The charity has over 10,000 volunteer members, motivated by their faith, and the essence of its work is person-to-person contact – for example visiting people who are sick, lonely, in prison, or suffering from addiction.
For more about CSAN see: https://www.csan.org.uk
For more about the St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales), see: https://www.svp.org.uk
Picture: A sign saying ‘delivering essentials to vulnerable parent’ is displayed in the rear window of a car during the coronavirus lockdown. (Kieran Cleeves/EMPICS Entertainment).