Working in Communities

The power to end modern slavery already exists within local communities, we just need to harness it.

What better way for the Church to use its presence, than to lead the way in helping communities to pull together to keep slavery and exploitation out of their neighbourhoods or to provide support to victims?

Why does working in communities matter?

There are many reasons why modern slavery is able to thrive and grow within communities. The presence of modern slavery is not a reflection on the community itself, it can live anywhere - from busy urban neighbourhoods to sleepy villages; prosperous commuter towns, busy tourist centres, disadvantaged areas, city centres, quiet rural areas...

One of the biggest reasons for its presence is its ability to go unseen and undisturbed. That's why working at a community level is vital. By understanding modern slavery in a community context we can expose it, make sure it's seen and find safe ways of disrupting it.

The ultimate goal for our communities is to create an environment where modern slavery cannot thrive.

Power for change

What does our work in communities look like?

The Clewer Initiative is founded on the belief that where relationships are strong and where individuals are looking out for their neighbours' welfare it is possible to eliminate slavery.

As a Church of England project, much of our local work begins through dioceses. When we talk about community we mean it in the broadest sense - so our work also extends, sometimes beyond the church, to communities involved with excluded and vulnerable groups such as the homeless, undocumented migrants, people with learning disabilities, vulnerable children etc.

We often refer to our work with communities as the 'Clewer Journey' because it's not about a single event or action, rather an ongoing process defined by the community itself. Our first step is always to engage a champion or leader who is part of or close to the community and able to convene and mobilise people who have the will and motivation to tackle local issues, volunteer or be part of social action project.

The 'journey' follows a broad roadmap where we help to direct, support and facilitate community groups in defining their own path. Rarely are two journeys the same but there are a number of common building blocks:

  • Building a local group or network - finding activists with a passion for engaging with the problem.
  • Helping the whole community see and understand the problem by awareness raising across all sectors and generations.
  • Building co-operation and collaboration between church, community and statutory agencies such as police, housing, social services etc.
  • Local action - coming up with a plan that will work for your community.

How do we know it works?

We walk hand in hand along the Clewer Journey with many community projects, providing support through resources, workshops, events, information and joint planning and we see and hear the difference that can be made. Whether it's the story of a single victim who has been able to come forward and find support, a local collaboration to help educate parents and children to raise awareness of the dangers of county lines, or a community that has set about creating a network to help support victims, there are many positive outcomes.

If you want to find out more about how we could support your community to start tackling modern slavery please get in touch:

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