Caritas is committed to the principle of ‘subsidiarity’, which is to say that decision making should devolve to the lowest practicable level. However, problems arise when that level of participation is not possible simply because of cultural attitudes, lack of education and poverty. Many charities including Caritas stand ready and willing to speak for these disenfranchised groups and this is good. Leaflets and documents are printed in various languages, parts of religious services are delivered in their mother tongue and translators are often made available to those who have no English and this is also good. Nevertheless, it would be much better if there was a way in which we could help these groups to speak out for themselves, to help themselves and to represent themselves. This is purpose and the aim of the Caritas Social Inclusion Project.
Highlands College deliver their English Language classes to 46 different nationalities. Jersey is extraordinarily multicultural. While Caritas would like to assist all these nationalities we have to be realistic. For the moment, we will concentrate on those from Madera and from Poland as they make up the largest numbers by far. If our project is successful we can roll it out for others. Caritas believes that enabling people of Madeiran and Polish descent to become more active in their community, is the way forward. These selected candidates will become ‘enablers’, working with their local communities helping them articulate their communities’ concerns and frustrations, helping them gain a voice in our society and helping them campaign for what they believe in. In this way, we will be sowing the seeds for a better more socially integrated society.
The proposal is that we invite candidates to offer their services to their community. Caritas will send them to England to undertake an intensive six-day residential course run by Citizens UK. On the successful completion of this course and having undertaken 50 hours of approved work in their community, the candidates will receive a Professional Graduate Certificate in Community Leadership, issued by Newham University, Birmingham. Citizens UK and Caritas will mentor these candidates during their community work.
Citizens UK training is for people from civic institutions who want to increase their capacity to make change at the local and national level. The training is a combination of theory, practical tools, stories and real action. The training covers eight modules: Power, Self-Interest, Negotiation, Building Relationships, Leadership, Developing Institutions, Culture, and The Case for Broad-Based Organising. Trainees will leave with an enriched sense of purpose, a diverse range of new powerful relationships and a practical set of tools to strengthen them and Caritas, and enable them to make meaningful change in their community. We harbour the hope that in time we may see some of these enablers in the States Assembly!