Thinking about worship and church activities, including specific activities for vulnerable groups

It is helpful to take time to think about worship and activity spaces.

Churches should provide clear access to all these areas. Consider the suitability of stairs, ramps and doorways, and good lighting. Are our buildings fit for purpose for the range of vulnerabilities we may encounter i.e. the partially sighted, those less able to walk, and those with hearing difficulties? Churches will, like other organisations, need to consider potential hazards and take the necessary steps to protect all adults using the premises, so also ensuring compliance with insurance policies.

Churches should also give thought to less obvious but potentially excluding traditions they follow such as passing the offertory plate – those less well off, hearing continued pleas for more giving may feel uncomfortable at times. Are worship and meetings arranged at convenient times for the groups and individuals who would like to attend, e.g. for single parent families, especially those under stress, taking into account child care or other needs?

Older members may not like to venture out at night. Consideration should also be given to ensuring a safe number of leaders are in place for working with groups of vulnerable adults so as to be well prepared for unexpected events such as an accident or someone falling ill.

A risk assessment process will help here and church or circuit safeguarding officers can offer help and support as necessary.