Church creates online forum for social care

Social care provision by churches across Scotland is set to be improved with the launch of new online resource designed to “inform, connect and inspire” congregations as they carry out this vital role.

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There are blog posts from people working in the field, news items to help churches to connect with the wider social care picture and a chat room facility where churches, regardless of their location, can share their experiences together.

Inform, connect, inspire

The ‘Social Care Forum’ is a website where people can obtain and share the latest information on social care provision.

Downloadable resources are available at the touch of a button - the latest government reports and policies, research, useful reading and practical resources such as templates.

People involved in social care of any kind can now connect with each other in any part of Scotland.

There are blog posts from people working in the field, news items to help churches to connect with the wider social care picture and a chat room facility where churches, regardless of their location, can share their experiences together.

Inspirational success stories of the impact the work is making on the quality of peoples’ lives can also be read.

Provide for many

Elizabeth Hay, head of service business development for CrossReach, said: “As congregations identify and respond to local needs we must be flexible enough to provide support and resources at the time needed by those seeking it.

“We must use all tools available including the opportunities digital technology provides to share knowledge from CrossReach and from congregations.

“We believe this tool can provide to many what only one person can do for a few.”

Explaining the background to the resource, Liann Weir, the social care mission officer who has developed the platform, said: “The Social Care Forum was developed as more and more churches responded to what they were seeing in their communities.

“Local churches were developing often crucial support services for people, such as dementia drop-in groups, befriending services and family support groups and were sharing with the council their request for support and resources to help them along their journey.

“Churches across the country were developing often similar models of activity and so it made sense to find a way to connect the dots to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences as well as practical resources."

Share resources

There will be ‘guest chats’ where users can interact with experts in real-time about particular topics such as fundraising, dementia, mental health or developing a new project

The aim is for congregations to use the new platform for learning, developing, connecting, inspiring and to be inspired.

Churches are encouraged to participate in the development of this national resource by sharing materials they have developed.

Use the new resource.

The Church of Scotland's Social Care Council has a remit to provide social care services in Christ's name and specialist resources to further the caring work of the Church to people in need.

CrossReach provides around 70 services at locations across the country.It has an annual expenditure of £45 million and employs around 2,000 people and has 572 volunteers.