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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Bishops' social care agency meets government
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¬†Caritas ≠ social action, met officials of the Prime Minister's Office yesterday to begin developing a relationship between the Catholic voluntary sector and government. Since its launch in March this year, Caritas has been putting together its policy positions and exploring ways of advocating for the Catholic voluntary sector. Charles Wookey, Assistant General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: "Caritas has been established by the Bishops' Conference and has been given a specific mandate as the Catholic Church's voice on social justice and care in England and Wales. This is an important area that the Bishops have chosen to prioritise." Sarah Lindsell, Director of Caritas, said: "It's great to use this voice to share the good practice of our members with government. It is essential we tell government about the solutions we are using to meet the needs of some of the poorest communities, those most vulnerable and in need of our care and support." Stephen Matthews, Caritas's Parliamentary Liaison, said: "As we waited to be shown through 10 Downing Street, Tony Blair came into the Lobby to meet the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. This reminded us of the importance of bringing people together from different backgrounds and ways of working. Our meeting with the Prime Minister's staff is an excellent start and demonstrates the opportunities available for us to work with the government in the future." Caritas is seeking a mutually-beneficial relationship with government. While not afraid to challenge the government to do more or criticise government policy which marginalizes people in our communities, Caritas hopes to influence policy and decision-making before it affects people. Caritas ≠ social action is the voice of the Catholic Church on social justice and care in England and Wales. The agency is a federation of organizations and individuals who are involved in the relief of poverty the promotion of social justice and community development for the benefit of people of all faiths and none. Caritas supports a diverse range of organisations operating locally, regionally and nationally providing quality services across the whole social care spectrum. Caritas' membership has arisen in response to the need to come together to promote social action and the common good. In England and Wales, Catholic charities work with an annual social care budget of £90 million, employ more than 3,000 staff and 35,000 volunteers. Attending the meeting were, Beth Breeze, Caritas trustee and deputy director of Social Marketing Foundation, Sarah Lindsell, Director of Caritas, Stephen Matthews, Caritas' Parliamentary Liaison, and Charles Wookey, Assistant General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
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