The Josephine Butler Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Helen Clarey who received a £500 cheque to be given to a charity of her choice which is Willowbrook Hospice and secondly £200 of John Lewis vouchers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Church – Mothers Union, the Union of Catholic Mothers, members of Church Councils, non-stipendiary clergy, musicians, volunteers at luncheon clubs, collecting for Christian Aid and so much more.
Helen has served many years as a churchwarden with the headaches of a Grade Two Star Listed Building namely St Mary’s Knowsley, exhausting herself with a large Christmnas Tree Festival and running an ecumenical Messy Church, has been a committee member and stalwart supporter of the St Helens Youth Brass Band, has been a member for decades of a group of singers called the Lyndales who have been committed to singing for churches and charities and an active trustee of the Diocesan Council for Social Aid whose key role is running Adelaide House our Approved Premises for Women which also focuses on gender equality and penal affairs.
Helen also has a unique role in the Church of England which due to the Diocese’s commitment has received national recognition, serving as Adviser on Domestic Abuse Issues. The prevention of Domestic Abuse is intrinsic to the Diocesan Safeguarding Policies and she has promoted this with passion, sensitivity and hard work. She has addressed Deanery Synods, the Mothers Union, worked with our committed and efficient Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults Adviser and much more!
The second award which of £5,000 given to a Christian charity with a proven track record in areas that we think Josephine Butler would be pioneering today. This went to Wigan Churches Association for Family Welfare normally known as Wigan Family Welfare.
When the Trust was established there were two outstanding women trustees namely Marguerite (Sally) White who was the Director of Moral Welfare in the Diocese and those responsible for overseeing this organisation in a Diocesan context and Professor Kathleen Heasman who in her book The Church & Social Work highlighted the work of this organisation which started in the late fifties partly on money from the closure of a Children’s Home. From its inception it involved Anglican, Roman Catholic & Free Church members many years before the Bishop, the Archbishop and the Free Church Moderator her became the Merseyside Miracle. So this Wigan Miracle was years ahead!
Counselling children and adults, being a leading light in Wigan’s third sector, having strong support from local churches since its foundation, working with Sure Start, bereavement support, anger management, advocacy, and so much more. These have been hallmarks of this organisation which despite swingeing cuts in local authority support and ever shrinking resources has grown always in stature and normally in size.