Hello folks, Sarah here – your Children and Families Manager. I took on the role as part of the Community Support Team here at the Pagan Federation well over a year ago now and wanted to take some time to talk about the Children and Families Team, the work it does and its plans for the future.
The Children and Families team is an important one within the Federation. It looks after what is without a doubt the most important aspect of our futures – the next generation and the people who are supporting and nurturing it to grow. It does this by providing support, helping families to engage with Pagan life outside of their own homes, and by identifying and working to overcome any barriers that Pagan children and their families may encounter along their paths.
What does this work look like in reality? It all starts behind the scenes with learning and research. We have to learn about the needs of Pagan families and their children – starting with our own families and what we have needed over the years; and then by asking you, our members, what it is that you need, what barriers you encounter and how we can help as an organisation.
This is our solid foundation to build upon when writing policy and planning for the future. Finally, we begin the work of putting policy, real life events and people support in place to overcome any barriers and help you access the Pagan community as fully as possible.
Just as the wheel of the year turns, this work is a constant cycle which forever needs to be reviewed and looked at so we make sure it meets needs.
I acknowledge that we face a number of our own barriers as a team. At the moment we are small in number, but all of us are dedicated and enthusiastic about the work we have to do. Our small team is something I want to change and as quickly as possible because without team members we cannot achieve our goals. I also want to make sure our whole team, no matter how large or small, has the training and awareness it needs to contribute effectively.
Historically, we haven’t made sure our work is publicised enough, so many aren’t aware of what we do and how we can help. I really want to change this and make it my goal to ensure there is a Children and Families team member in every district, to ensure every family who is part of our members knows we are here and can call on us for support.
I am keen to ensure that this team works well with the other Community Support teams so that we cover as many areas of normal life as we can. Disabilities and other health issues, life problems and LGBTQIA+ issues are common place within any community and that is no different for us as Pagans. This means our remits cross over a lot and therefore we can be stronger for you if we work together.
What does the future look like then for the Children and Families team and for those of you who we can help? Hopefully full of real life, useful information and support so that our members and their families have what they need to overcome barriers and engage fully with this amazing community.
Ideally, it will be filled with team members who are nourished and supported to do and be their best for those who need them. A team who is willing to do the hours of silent work that goes on behind the scenes to provide for those in need of help. And lastly, the team will be kept active out in the community by providing information, running events and giving support both on and offline wherever our members are.
It’s a sizable task and I hope I am up to the challenge. I am hopeful though that the last seven years of volunteering in my community, alongside twenty-one years as a parent and all that it has taught me, will provide the skills and understanding I need to fulfil the remit successfully.
Because as C.S. Lewis says: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work”.