The Diocese of Worcester’s anti-slavery inheritance continues to this day, as it seeks to raise awareness of modern slavery throughout the diocese’s communities. The diocese covers the county of Worcestershire, with both rural areas and market towns, along with the Borough of Dudley in the urban Black Country.
Delivering successful training and events
The diocese has delivered a range of training and events, focussed on raising awareness of modern slavery and equipping participants with the knowledge needed to take action. This includes holding a well-attended modern slavery conference in 2018, as well as delivering ‘what is modern slavery’ and ‘spot the signs’ training sessions.
Anti-Slavery Awareness Week
Over the past few months, Worcester Cathedral has been actively involved in a partnership project with the Diocese of Worcester's Mothers' Union to mount an installation of knitted Anti-Slavery Chains in the trees outside the Cathedral to coincide with Anti-Slavery Awareness Week 2022.
As part of the installation there have been several engagement activities that have taken place to raise awareness and involve the community in participating in the exhibition:
- A free, family focused knitting workshop during the summer school holidays
- Active engagement with churches within the Diocese encouraging them to participate in the project by creating knitted links to be added to the chain.
- Articles featured in the Cathedral Newsletter about the development of the project and social media posts including the creation of a TikTok.
- Attendance at services at the Cathedral, engaging with the congregation to create their own paper chain link and include a message of hope/prayer/pledge. These paper chains will be exhibited with the Cathedral during Awareness week.
- A display/information stand inside the Cathedral to raise awareness and signpost support.
Working to engage rural and urban communities
Agriculture is a key industry in rural Worcestershire. The diocese and cathedral have worked to engage young farmers on the issue of rural slavery, focussing activities around the County Harvest Festival. In 2021, the cathedral set up a stall and handed out leaflets to publicise The Clewer Initiative’s Farm Work Welfare App and rural slavery.
2023 plans - a County Lines project
The Cathedral is currently pioneering a County Lines project with The Clewer Initiative and other partner organisations. It is commissioning a film and mural and developing educational teaching resources/workshops aimed at young people aged 11 – 16. The film will be launched in March 2023 as part of big schools’ day event and the artwork will be unveiled in June 2023.
Deeply rooted in prayer
The Diocese of Worcester’s core vision is to ‘grow as Kingdom People’, with churches that transform their communities. A key part of this vision is for the diocese to be ‘deeply rooted in prayer’, a belief which is carried through into the diocese’s work around modern slavery. A group from the diocese meets regularly to pray for the victims of modern slavery, as well as those working to address it.