NRPSN services during the coronavirus epidemic
We have not suspended the work of our pastoral carers, but widespread rule changes across hospitals, hospices, universities, and prisons mean many of our volunteers are not currently able to provide non-religious pastoral care in those institutions face-to-face.
We will look to resume this work as soon as the situation allows. In the meantime, there may be opportunities for our pastoral carers to provide care in other ways or voluntarily in the national effort. We are exploring alternative ways of providing care, such as online using a secure platform, or in developing resources to help people who are struggling, or in partnership with other charities.
The welfare of our volunteers and those we support remains our priority and we will continue to look for ways to provide non-judgemental pastoral care to non-religious people in this time of uncertainty and anxiety.
We aim to ensure that non-religious people have the opportunity to access appropriate and effective likeminded pastoral support that is tailored to work for them.
We believe that equality of provision matters. People in need of support should be able to choose to speak to someone who shares their worldview. Until recently, public institutions have looked to people from religious communities to be the sole providers of this kind of service. With over half of British society now identifying as non-religious, we believe it should be a top priority for institutions to increase the number of non-religious carers within pastoral, spiritual and religious care departments, and therefore increase the availability of care in the form people want it across all sectors and services.
Currently, we have volunteers operating in healthcare, prisons, and universities, and we are now looking to expand this offering to the armed forces, residential care homes, the emergency services, and community settings that would benefit from pastoral support services. Our members meet people in an environment where they can feel comfortable, providing an important alternative to religious support.
Inclusion of non-religious providers in pastoral care teams results in wider service user choice, and better outcomes for the individual, the institution, and the community.