Penny Welsh recently joined the Everyday Church staff team as our Designated Safeguarding Lead. We asked Penny some questions to get to know her a bit more.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to this new role?
I grew up in South West London and became a Christian at the age of 13. I had been brought along to Queen’s Road Church (now Everyday Church Wimbledon) by a friend who had faithfully prayed for me before inviting me. I heard the gospel for the first time, and having no doubt that I was hearing the truth, I had to respond in faith.
For the past twenty-seven I have been a member of a small Anglican church between Kingston and New Malden. I have worked with children and young people in various groups ranging from toddlers to teenagers. I ran a toddler group for several years. For the past ten years I have been Parish Safeguarding Officer and worked in the office of a primary school in New Malden, responsible for ensuring DBS checks were carried out for staff and volunteers and that safeguarding policies were followed.
You are married to the wonderful Martin – How did you guys meet?
Although we grew up less than two miles apart and had friends in common, Martin and I met in Manchester as students attending the Christian Union group in our hall of residence. We were best friends for a year before getting together and have now been married for 33 years.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your family?
After many years living in Morden and then in New Malden, we moved to Wimbledon in the middle of the first lockdown in 2020 to be with my mum, who was in need of a bit of support. We now find ourselves living in the house that my parents bought in 1977 and which was my home when Martin and I first met! We have four grown-up children, two of whom still live at home and the youngest is at university.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I very much like reading, and I am a member of two book groups. I also really enjoy live music and theatre (in the audience and not on stage!) – My husband and youngest son are keen amateur dramatists, and I enjoy supporting them in this.
What does the Designated Safeguarding Lead do?
I have been in post since the start of May 2023, working two and half days per week. I have spent time reading the policies and procedures that are in place and thinking about what would make them even clearer and easier to use. I have started getting to know the staff team and volunteers across the different Venues and seeing what happens where.
There is a safeguarding team in place which includes Deputy Safeguarding Leads – Rukiya Jemmott and Robert Sayell – who are hugely experienced and approachable, so that has been a joy for me.
My role is both to lead and support, and to ensure that safeguarding continues to have a high profile across all activities in church life.
You can get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 8947 1859 and choosing the safeguarding option.