Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and volunteers are just as important as anyone else in ensuring that our churches are safe sacred spaces.

To help with that, the diocesan safeguarding team has set up new anti-social behaviour training for volunteers at Truro Cathedral.

Over 20 people signed up to attend the first session which was led by deputy diocesan safeguarding officer Jo Pomery, a former Devon and Cornwall police officer.

Jo, along with cathedral’s Safeguarding co-ordinator Charmian Law, had identified there was a need for cathedral volunteers working with the public to have the opportunity for training around anti-social behaviour.

Being centrally located in Truro and a large venue open to all the volunteers have encountered troubled individuals and groups causing disturbance. Some volunteers had become uncomfortable and felt vulnerable in these difficult and challenging situations and it was recognised that training would benefit them all.

The purpose of the training was to raise awareness of how to remain safe in uncertain and potentially intimidating situations. It touched on a wide range of aspects including types of anti-social behaviour, the legislation around use of force, and strategies that people could use to de-escalate a situation as well as the run hide tell principle. Jo provided advice around not engaging or dealing with situations or individuals alone and what the common criminal offences are so people are better able to recognise when police should be called immediately.

Jo was keen that all those present remembered the main points of the training – always consider their own personal safety, look after each other and those nearby, and if not safe to remove oneself and others and call for help.

Speaking after the session, Jo said: “Today was the first session and it was quite successful. The initial feedback was good, and the turnout was amazing! Over 20 people came, and we have been asked if it could be opened to a wider group to include staff and the events team. It has generated quite a bit of interest.

“All in all, it was great! The training was well received, and it was a good chance for volunteers to get together, talk, and voice some concerns they may have had.”

Andy Earl, Head of Safeguarding and Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, said: “The cathedral is a unique environment that relies on our team of employees and volunteers to ensure a positive visitor experience. This training provides an opportunity to meet together and to discuss and explore a variety of situations that may occur and to develop our common and shared approach to creating a safe sacred space for all.”