Health & Safety


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Under the Health & Safety Act, we all have a “duty of care” for ourselves and those around us.  This means it is up to you to follow the rules as they apply to St Mark’s Church of Ireland, Portadown, and to take all reasonable measures to protect yourself and others from harm.

In respect of Child Protection, you have a duty to report any concerns. If your child is a member of a group, then any concerns can be raised with the group leader. Where that is not appropriate or possible, then the person to contact is the Rector, Rev William Orr, who is Chair of the Safeguarding Trust Panel.

The Church, and both the Parochial Hall and Fergus Hall, are subject to frequent Health and Safety checks to ensure the building is a safe place for all who enter it.

Qualified contractors maintain the fire alarm and fire-fighting equipment and the lift in the Parochial Hall. Fire drills are carried out every year by the Fire Warden Team with additional drills being organised by the individual groups. All the premises are checked monthly by one of our volunteers who completes a comprehensive check list to ensure everything is as it should be. Any issues identified or repairs needed are noted and the Sexton advised.

The Sexton also carries out weekly checks to ensure floors are clear, bins emptied and the rooms are clean and tidy.

Safeguarding Trust is the child protection policy of the Church of Ireland. It is designed to safeguard children and to enhance the church’s ministry with children.  The policy has been in place for more than 15 years, although child protection is an area of constant development which means the policy is regularly reviewed to keep pace with changes in legislation and national and regional policies and guidelines.

Responsibility for ensuring the implementation of Safeguarding Trust in each parish lies with the parish panel – the rector and two parishioners. Any concerns regarding the welfare of a child should be reported to a parish panel member who will seek advice from the CPO and statutory agencies and if necessary, make a referral to the statutory child protection agency.

The Child Protection Officer NI – CPONI – is Margaret Yarr who is based in Church House Belfast. She can be contacted by: Telephone: 028 90 828860 or by E-mail:

Parents entrusting their child into our care expect that child to be returned to them in the same condition as when they were left with us. We, as volunteers, have a legal obligation to ensure that no child in our care comes to any harm of any kind, and to ensure that each child has their legal and moral rights respected at all times.

We are required to ensure that each child is valued, is treated with respect and dignity, is listened to and comes to no harm while in our care.

The Child Protection Training Session has been prepared by the Church of Ireland Child Protection Officer to ensure that each worker, whether an Employee or a Volunteer, operates within the Church’s Code of Practice, as detailed in the Safeguarding Trust Handbook provided to you at your first training session.

In Northern Ireland under Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act (NI) 1967 anyone with direct knowledge or information about an arrestable offence is required to inform the police within a reasonable period of time. An arrestable offence may include the non-disclosure of serious cases of child abuse.

Armagh Diocese has appointed a Safeguarding and Compliance Officer, whose role is to ensure that all the Parishes within Armagh Diocese comply with all Legislation and Church of Ireland Policy.

Part of this role is to monitor and facilitate the provision of Child Protection Training to Parishes within the Diocese. The Church of Ireland, in August 2000, began an exercise to train Volunteers to deliver Child Protection training throughout the island. All potential trainees would be trained to the same level using the same material. Armagh Diocese was able to nominate and train six people to work within the Diocese.

A list of Parishes offering child centred activities was prepared. On a three-year rolling basis, individual Parishes would be identified, and training session delivered. Usually working in pairs, the Trainers would cover the whole Diocese co-ordinated by the Safeguarding and Compliance Officer based in Armagh.

For more information about the Safeguarding Trust or to become a Volunteer, Please contact:

Safety Co-Ordinator

Mrs Patricia McGuinness: 028 3833 0336/07866 762762