Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on future of civil society

On 18th July 2013, Baroness Prosser led a debate in the House of Lords on the future of civil society. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastiar Redfern, spoke during the debate. The Bishop concern that as the traditional elements of civil society – family, nation and church – had become weak, civil society had become an elective exercise and that people now had to be persuaded to come together to create the energy and momentum for human flourishing.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness for securing this debate. I shall pursue the definition that the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, began to open up in his speech with the notion of the three legs of the stool and what civil society means. I start from the presupposition that we live in an age of liberalism in the technical sense; that is, we are very concerned for the individual to be free, and to be liberal about all those freedoms. Those freedoms are very good things, but any good often creates a problem.

I want to preface what I am saying with some words from TS Eliot. He said that the danger in liberalism is that it releases energy rather than accumulates it. It releases energy and then it is difficult to gather it together, because everybody is free, to make the building blocks of a civil society. He said that it relaxes rather than fortifies. The more we create rights, the bigger the problem with what we call cohesion. The more we are concerned about individual good, the bigger the problem with the common good. The more people have individual freedom, the more chance there is of becoming isolated, lonely and marginalised. It is very important to debate the civil society at this time when we desperately need energy to be accumulated around people for their well-being and flourishing and not dissipated into people being atomised on their own. The Government want to work with civil society—for the state to co-operate in accumulating energy for good things to happen. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations defines civil society as when,

“people come together to make a positive difference to their lives, and the lives of others”—

accumulating energy, making a positive difference to their lives and the lives of others. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on future of civil society”

Bishop of Norwich raises concerns with civil legal aid reforms

On 17th July 2013, Lord Bach moved a motion to regret on the Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013.The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, expressed concern that the level at which permitted disposable capital was set would render some older people in particular less capable of securing legal aid without selling their homes. He hoped that if vulnerable people’s access to legal representation were damaged by the regulations the government would change course on humanitarian grounds and not defend the regulations on the basis of a flawed ideology.

14.06.12 Bishop of NorwichThe Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, a key reference in this Motion of Regret is to “vulnerable people”, which is why this non-lawyer dares to stand amid such legal luminaries and feels a bit vulnerable himself.

A civilised country is one where we are all free under the law and where vulnerable people are not left defenceless against unjust treatment by another person, organisation or even an agent of government. Vulnerability is relative, of course, but the calculations that inform the regulations under discussion concern people who may be a very long way, as we have heard, from financial comfort and security, and may have multiple other needs. Continue reading “Bishop of Norwich raises concerns with civil legal aid reforms”

Bishop of Derby calls for development of community-led health and social care provision

On 11th July 2013, Lord Patel led a take-note debate in the House of Lords on future models of funding of health and social care in England. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the debate. The Bishop spoke of the need to develop community-based approaches to health and social care and called for a more holistic and whole-life approach to their provision.

DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Patel, on securing the debate. As we have heard from all speakers so far, there is a strong narrative about how precious the NHS is, how high public expectation remains and the problem of rising costs—it’s own health check has just been referred to.

I want to talk a little about care systems and the models that we might need to develop. Experience on the ground tells us that care systems are very fragmented. As systems such as family stability collapse, many people are isolated and struggle to access care and health services. The current system is very skewed towards the delivery of episodic interventions around particular crises. We need to look below that. We need to step back and see how we can create a culture of engagement, support and well-being for people that puts those episodic interventions in a different context and perhaps provides a context in which they would be less necessary and less frequent. I shall raise some questions about models and capacity, not least in relation to the elderly.

I work in the county of Derbyshire. Last year, in the city of Derby, I organised a commission, the Redfern commission, which looked at models of care in our community and how we could contribute alongside the statutory provision. We had a public hearing looking at models of care for the elderly. One of the experts who came as a witness to that public hearing raised three issues. She started by talking about people’s feet and the fact that proper foot care is very important to allow people to continue to have mobility—to be able to shop, do their cleaning and have social intercourse. Very simple things that require microengagement make a huge difference to people’s well-being and health. She also talked about the reluctance of doctors to diagnose depression in elderly patients who suffer a lot of loss. She said that something like 2 million elderly people are diagnosed with clinical depression, but there are probably far more, and it is hard for them to get treatment or even support on the ground. She also raised the lack of provision of advice for elderly people about sexual health. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for development of community-led health and social care provision”

Bishop of Derby speaks of positive impact of sacred music to UK tourism

“I think our musical heritage is a key ingredient for encouraging international tourism. In an age of terror and despair, we have a rich gift to offer and we must do all we can to make it available and to secure its sustainability.”

On 11th July 2013 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in Lord Storey’s take-note debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to support and promote the impact of music upon tourism. The Bishop spoke of the many local musical events that deserved to be highlighted in tourism material, including those in English cathedrals and churches and called for greater Government support for such events and traditions.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Storey, on securing this debate. The noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, mentioned the iconic Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park in 1969. Perhaps I should put on record the fact that I was there.

As we have just heard, music is not only important but a much underrated offer that we make to the rest of the world through tourism. When people come here for music tourism, they engage in making community and in being joined with others in a common culture through hearing a common language. Such things are very important for us to offer across the world as well as across the regions in this country. It is important that we do not just measure its significance in terms of economic impact, although that is important, but that we recognise a cultural, human hinterland that is enriched from Plato onwards and we must be proud of it and contribute to it.

The VisitBritain document, Delivering a Golden Legacy, identifies four principles to encourage this kind of tourism. The first is to recognise our international image, which is about heritage, arts and music—as the noble Lord, Lord Black, mentioned. The second is to develop an overall product so that performance, hotels, shopping and local businesses are all connected. The third is to be ambitious in our invitation and the variety that we offer. Fourthly, tourism needs to be embedded in other strategies for other sectors. Many noble Lords have spoken in this debate to illustrate some of those principles.

The UK Music report, Destination: Music, starts, as did the noble Lord, Lord Storey, in his speech, with Glastonbury. The research is based on concerts and events of 5,000 people or more. That is very important, but I want, in just a few brief words, to go to two other areas which fall below the radar of that kind of scale but which show the importance of music and culture for tourism. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks of positive impact of sacred music to UK tourism”

The Second Church Estates Commissioner Leads Debate on Impact of Bats in Churches

“This is a serious problem; it is not a joke. The issue is getting more difficult, more frustrating and more challenging for more communities all the time, and we look to the Minister and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to come forward with practical proposals to ensure that churches and communities can worship and flourish unimpeded by bats.”

On the 25th June 2013 in Westminster Hall, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, led a debate on the issue of bats in churches and the impact of the EU habitats directive. Sir Tony described the negative impact that bat populations can have upon artefacts within churches and also the health threat that they pose to members of the congregation.

14.03.20 WH debate

Continue reading “The Second Church Estates Commissioner Leads Debate on Impact of Bats in Churches”

Maiden Speech from the Bishop of Winchester

Bishop of WinchesterOn the 14th May 2013 the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin gave his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Following the convention of the House the Bishop spoke about his diocese and then addressed the debate covering his areas of interest education, social cohesion and agriculture.

Continue reading “Maiden Speech from the Bishop of Winchester”

Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics

Birmingham 171115On the 13th May 2013 the Bishop of Birmingham responded to the Queens Speech focusing on the areas of unemployment, business and the economy. The Bishop welcomed proposals for economic development and investment in transport which he hope would bring benefits to Birmingham and the wider region. He hoped the Government would tackle three areas, youth unemployment, personal debt and banking reform, quoting former Archbishop William Temple  he urged the Government to “Give us the tools in the regions and we will finish the job”.  Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to the Queen’s Speech addressing reforms of business, employment and economics”