Strength in Partnerships
This Reflection is based on an article from Karis Kolawole from Action for Children, a new Body in Association with Churches Together in England.
In a world where there are many needs but limited resources to meet them, working in partnership is really important. Here are some examples.
A Body in Association.
At Action for Chidren, we have been delighted to be accepted as a Body in Association of CTE this year. Action for Children was founded by Methodist minister Thomas Bowman Stephenson, who just could not ignore the poverty he saw among children on the streets of London. In 1869, with the help of his friends, he set up the National Children’s Home taking in two young boys. Today, we help over 370,000 children, young people and families each year through one or more of our 611 services – from supporting families at risk of breakdown, youth employment programmes to residential care for disabled children. Through Churches Together in England we hope to build more partnerships. It opens vast opportunities to form strong partnerships with churches and other Christian organisations to impact the local community.
It’s not enough to be resolute. We must take the right action. For us in Action for Children, that is ensuring that we are doing what’s right, doing what’s needed and doing what works for children. It means basing our decisions on sound evidence and ensuring that we can demonstrate that what we do works. It also means being innovative and working in partnership with others.
One of our partnerships is the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP). Currently, there is an unacceptable contrast between the quality of life and the opportunities available to disabled children and their families, compared to those without disabilities. DCP exists to address this and campaigns for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families. The Disabled Children's partnership has a current campaign, 'Secret life of us', which uses a series of films to tell real life stories. We encourage Christians as well to sign up to the campaign to make a lasting difference to the way disabled children are treated in society.
There are so many other ways churches can work together and partner with us, such as providing premises where we can run children’s services, support school programmes, campaigning to change Government policy to improve children’s lives, volunteering and giving. Nationally, the Methodist Church has particularly been an exemplary and inspirational partner in that respect over the years. We look forward to working with even more churches and Christian organisations to change the lives of thousands more children, young people, and families.
The needs we tackle daily are more varied and more complex than when we started; but, our vision to ensure that any child who needs help gets help and our inspirational partnerships strengthen our resolve. We are happy to have conversations with Churches Together groups and other ecumenical organisations about how such partnerships can develop. Together, there is indeed, 'Strength in Partnership'.
Karis Kolawole is Head of Faith Partnerships. To learn more about Action for Children’s work and how you can get involved, visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk or get in touch with Karis via email.