A rainy, muddy, wet, and wonderful weekend!
Reverend Anton Muller, Lancashire County Ecumenical Officer for Churches Together in Lancashire was the key organiser and facilitator of the Modern Slavery theme as part of the Churches Together in Lancashire marquee at the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show 21-23 July 2023.
Director Karen Livesey and volunteers from No Whispers Community Interest Company, worked alongside Churches Together in Lancashire to contribute towards sharing messages of hope and raise awareness of Modern slavery, Human Trafficking, and the connectivity to Child criminal exploitation. A big thanks to Clare Byers and Councillor Anna Hindle who volunteered and talked to many, many people throughout the event and brought their
warmth, friendliness, and contagious smiles and advice to every encounter.
These three days were fabulous and despite the constant rain, streams of water and ankle- deep muddy fields this event offered a rich and diverse encounter with people, animals, crafts, food markets, businesses, organisations, music, activities, the voluntary sector, the Army and so much more! The changeable weather did not prevent 100’s and 100’s of people from attending and enjoying an entertaining programme of equine events, dog shows, scrumptious food, sweet stalls, multitude of craft stalls including vintage crafts, diverse local businesses and organisations, a children’s village, a funfair, entertainment, and the wonderful Churches Together in Lancashire, Church tent which provided a free space for people to sit and have a free Fairtrade cup of tea and hear about resources for caring for
farming communities as well as listening to guest speakers and presentations related to Modern Slavery and exploitation.
The informative presentations given throughout the day by guest speakers included a seminar led by Douglas Martin and Maxine Rawlings from the Human Resources Management at UCLan which offered interesting challenges and questions regarding “Decent work”. Support, advice, and information were available from other stalls within the
tent including the Clewer Initiative (County lines and Modern Slavery training and awareness), Hope for Justice, Christian Police Association, RABI – The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery, FCN – the Farming Community Network, Preston & South Ribble Street Pastors, Police Christian Association and of course, No Whispers Community Interest Company.
The final presentation with Sion Hall from Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership and a man called Malik was extremely moving and impactful. Malik told his story of his own experience of being kept in slavery by his uncle in Lancaster and the devastating impact this had on his life and the importance of people in the community understanding, recognising, and reporting when seeing signs of modern slavery. Thanks to a member of the community Malik’s life changed for the better.
Joe Wilson from Radio Lancashire visited and interviewed play leaders about the Godly Play Bus which is run by Lancashire Methodist District. Caroline Virgo from the Clewer Initiative was interviewed, and she gave a good overview regarding the issues of Modern Slavery for adults and children and the importance of community awareness and recognition of signs of slavery and human trafficking.
Karen Livesey from No Whispers Community Interest Company was interviewed.
Karen Livesey’s interview with Joe Wilson from Radio Lancashire can be found on the BBC Sounds website. The interview starts at 35 mins into the program.
Although the rain was never ending this did not dampen the spirits and morale of the Churches Together in Lancashire team and the valuable networking, joyous songs and prayers, inspirational guest speakers, and quality time to talk to a wide range of people made this a very special weekend.
Well done everyone for a truly inspirational weekend.
Reverend Anton Muller stated, “We were delighted to have with us for the first time Karen Livesey and her team from No Whispers Community Interest Company, CIC bringing to the tent their deep understanding of the exploitation facing so many vulnerable children in our community. The resources they were able to share provided valuable insight into the reality of sexual exploitation and the use of children and young people in “County Lines” which enables traffickers to bring drugs into the heart of rural communities.
Most importantly No Whispers CIC were able to offer good news and hope by raising awareness to identify child exploitation and so be a better position to report and challenge and bring to an end this abuse. We look forward to
having Karen and the team from No Whispers CIC with us again next year.”
The staff from Lancashire Football Association made sure this event ran smoothly with excellent facilities for the presentation, refreshments, and seating arrangements. Members of staff kindly arranged beautiful flower arrangements for each table which added a colorful addition to the room and alongside the clusters of black and white balloons, gave a smart contrast and sense of occasion.
For more information about Churches Together in Lancashire visit www.ctlancashire.org.uk
For information about Child sexual exploitation awareness training and Child criminal
exploitation awareness training, County lines and Human Trafficking visit
For more information contact Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700
If you would like to know more about training, events and activities offered by No Whispers CIC the please complete the contact form