Third of 20,000 refugee target resettled in UK
MORE than 8500 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme, a third of the 20,000 target by 2020, new figures from the Home Office, published on Thursday of last week, state. Of these, 1200 refugees arrived in the second quarter of this year, and about half the total are children. The Syrian refugees have been housed by more than 200 local authorities.
Newly appointed Dean withdraws
THE newly appointed Dean of Peterborough, Canon Tim Sledge, has withdrawn from the post for health reasons, just over a month after his appointment was announced (News, 21 July). The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, said that he was sorry to hear the news, and confirmed that the selection panel would “reconvene in the next few weeks”. Canon Sledge was appointed to succeed the Very Revd Charles Taylor after his resignation (News, 7 October 2016) and in the wake of the Bishop’s Visitation Charge (News, 13 January). Canon Sledge said in a statement released last Sunday: “I have informed Bishop Donald that I have decided to take a break from my ministry at this time on personal health grounds, and as such I have withdrawn from the role I had accepted at Peterborough Cathedral.”
Child sex-offender priest reoffends
A RETIRED priest, Paul Battersby, who received a suspended prison sentence in relation to child sex offences in 2008 (News, 26 March 2008), and who has been living in church accommodation in Liverpool for the past three years, has reoffended, The Liverpool Echo reported. Mr Battersby, 68, was sentenced to 20 months in prison after a Liverpool Crown Court heard that he had downloaded more than 1700 indecent images. A spokesman for the C of E told the paper: “It is a matter of deep shame and regret that Paul Battersby has re-offended. We apologise unreservedly for the harm that this will have caused.” The C of E Pensions Board houses retired clerics who have a minimum number of years of stipendiary service, and who cannot afford retirement housing, he said. “In any case where disclosure is made about a criminal history, or the person comes to the Pensions Board on leaving a custodial sentence, the Board works very closely with the managing agencies (for example, the probation service or the police) to ensure that the housing it provides meets the restrictions set for that individual. That happened in this particular case.”
NSPCC: protect 16-year-olds from youth workers
CHURCH youth-workers should be subject to the same legislation under which professionals, including teachers and social workers, are banned from having sex with 16- and 17-year-olds in their care, the NSPCC charity has said. Army cadet officers, sports coaches, and other volunteers who work with children should also be subject to the legislation, it said. The head of policy for the charity told the Sunday Express: “Safeguarding in children’s clubs should not end suddenly at 16. The NSPCC has been told of a number of cases where, in sports and other youthwork settings, leaders have used their position to groom children, and then take advantage of them as soon as they turn 16.”
Correction: our story on the York Minster bells (News, 25 August) contained a serious error. Only one of the former team, David Potter, has been permanently excluded from ringing at York Minster. The rest of the original band were invited to apply to join the new team. Three members of the former band were not shortlisted, and were offered a feedback meeting to discuss the reason. Everyone else did have an interview, the Minster says, and the majority were successful. Those who were not successful may reapply in the future. We apologise for the error.