Engaging Faith Leaders in Community Safety Planning

Engaging Faith Leaders in Community Safety Planning

By Sharon Platt-McDonald BUC Director for Adventist Community Services, Health and Women's Ministries

One Vision charity hosted a 'Your Voice Matters' community engagement event on 11 October 2023 in collaboration with Hertfordshire Fire and Police personnel focusing on safety in the community.

The event was held at the British Union Conference (BUC) headquarters, and faith leaders were invited to join the conversation around exploring innovative approaches to the three main themes for the session:

  • Enhanced Service Delivery of Fire and Rescue Services and Police Protection
  • Boosting Public Safety
  • Saving Lives

The invited keynote presenter was Alex Woodman, Executive Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer for Hertfordshire.

In her opening introduction, Sharon Platt-McDonald, BUC Director for Adventist Community Services, highlighted the importance of caring about what matters to people. She also mentioned safety as one pivotal concern. Setting the scene for the evening, Sharon quoted from Margret Wheatly, who states: "There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." It became evident in the unfolding discussions that the invited speakers cared about their community.

Chief Fire Officer Woodman spoke about sharing the "risk management plans that influence the community we serve." He then outlined the comprehensive plans for community safety in Hertfordshire found at: He invited attendees to give feedback on their website about their community safety plans:

Highlighting the importance of community engagement, Woodman explained that "To portray the level of knowledge and risks accurately, we need to incorporate contribution at the local level. We want to reassure the community that we are here to engage and ensure our plans are clear. We want to hear how confident you are about our services."

Woodman then appealed to the faith leaders present to get their members involved with undertaking the time-sensitive survey at

Adding his voice to the appeal, Enoch Kanagaraj, CEO and founder of One Vision charity, said: "It's great to see that Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Services are looking into reviewing the services they provide to our community. We as faith organisations should protect our community by participating in the survey they are undertaking to help them improve their services."

Pastor Dee Edwards also shared ideas around involving youth, BAME and faith community participation to embrace a range of different voices to enhance service delivery. She stated this will help ensure a more diverse and inclusive approach to service delivery.

The focus on including people of faith was an important thread throughout the evening. Speaking with BUC Executive Secretary Pastor John Surridge, reflecting on the event, he states: "I am pleased that our church headquarters is a place where key community figures, as well as the wider public, feel comfortable to visit. Also delighted that we can be called upon to discuss important matters that involve the varying aspects of community life."

We would appreciate your continued prayers and support as we collaborate with community leaders and diverse faith groups to make our neighbourhoods better places to live.