Tragically, modern slavery and human trafficking are very much present in the Black Country, as in every part of the country. Thankfully Christian groups are responding to the need by supporting people rescued from slavery and by working with the authorities to raise awareness of the issue. For more information about Black-Country-based Christian ministries working to combat modern slavery, e-mail this address.
In 2015, 12,000 children in the Black Country were officially defined as ‘in need.’ Social Services are coming under increasing pressure as they address this problem. Across the Black Country, Christians and churches are already doing their best to serve struggling families, but the need is too great for individuals or small groups to tackle alone.
In an imaginative initiative, Love Black Country and Transforming Communities Together have created a consortium between themselves and four charities which focus in different ways on children and families – Home for Good, Safe Families for Children, TLG and YMCA Open Door – so that congregations in the Black Country are able to respond to the need by linking to just one consortium. The ground-breaking project invites each Black Country congregation to nominate a ‘Families Champion,’ who will act as the point of contact between the local church and the consortium of charities in all matters relating to children and families in need. More information about the initiative here.
In September 2016, Rachel Lampard, Vice President of the Methodist Church, chaired the launch of a letter from 224 faith leaders to the Prime Minister calling for more help to be given to refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict. In her speech, Rachel said, ‘At the centre of our call today is support for families. Whatever shape they are, families are a necessary part what it is to be human. As faith leaders, we are deeply concerned that current Government policy undermines the chance that many refugees have to a family life.’ Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Dr Rowan Williams, gave a keynote address. The statement was signed by many faith leaders and reported in the mainstream press. The statement can be accessed here.
In April 2016, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland launched the ‘Focus on Refugees’ website to provide a link to stories and resources relating to the current migrant crisis. Access the links via http://focusonrefugees.org.
Christian Aid recently launched its CHANGE THE STORY initiative to encourage Christians to write to local newspapers with positive stories about refugees and those who offer welcome and support to them. More information via this link.