Cornwall Faith Response Team is relaunched

Whenever a major incident takes place, people can be affected in many different ways.

They may require pastoral, spiritual and practical support, especially where they are suffering through pain, sorrow, trauma, severe injury, loss of property or possessions or where people are missing.

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Cornwall Council has an obligation under the Civil Contingencies Act to help take care of its residents in such traumatic circumstances, and has done so through our Faith Response Team for several years.

Our Resilience and Emergency Management team recognises that such support can be provided by suitably trained volunteers, and now the team is being re-launched, equipped, trained and prepared to respond effectively as required anywhere in Cornwall.

The team will be mobilised if the Resilience and Emergency Management team become aware of an incident where such support is or may be required. The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Spiritual and Pastoral Care Team will contact the necessary Cornwall Faith Response Team (CFRT) members and request their attendance at the incident location as required.

Training being provided to the team members includes information about what to expect at such incident scenes, recognition of personal confidence, capabilities and limitations, understanding the various types of incident scenes, shelters and reception centres where they may need to interact with affected people and how they may support them.

Following a seminar held in the Council Chamber earlier this year where speakers related their experience of incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire, Manchester arena attack and London atrocities team members were galvanised into renewing the Cornwall Faith Response Team and being prepared to assist whenever and wherever possible.

The CFRT will be re-launched by Simon Mould, Cornwall Council’s Head of Community Safety and localism: "I am delighted to support the relaunch of Cornwall's Faith Response Team (CFRT).  The strengthening of this team is an essential element of the response and recovery capability for Cornwall, providing critical support to people affected by a major incident. 

"After a disaster, we are so aware of the impact it can have on place and the people that live, work and visit there.  We’re sensitive to the whole person and this team of volunteers provides an essential link to ensure we don’t just see the house or business effected, but that we also support the persons, families and communities emotional needs impacted also."

Members of the CFRT are drawn from a wide range of faiths and beliefs including Christian, Judaism, Pagan and others. It is important to recognise the ecumenical strength of the team but they will provide support to anyone needing it.

Cornwall Council’s Senior Resilience Officer, Martin Rawling said: "I am humbled by the willingness of our volunteers to step into the unknown and support their fellow beings in such circumstances of terror, loss and suffering. We are grateful to our volunteers for committing to this task and I sincerely hope that we never have to call on their support; but I am absolutely confident that they will respond appropriately when asked.

"Bringing the team together, working on the procedures for the group and co-ordinating the team and their training has fallen to a handful of the volunteers themselves who have stepped forward to become the management group. The residents and visitors to Cornwall are right to be proud of this commitment and the work they have undertaken on our behalf."

Councillor Sue James said: "Every resident and every community hopes it will not experience a serious incident or emergency. Cornwall Council's Resilience and Emergency team has shown it can support local communities when unwelcome events happen and volunteers of the Cornwall Faith Response Team will be a welcome addition to the resources at hand."

Story posted: 14 September 2018