In the weeks that have followed our successful Annual Conference and General Meeting in Edinburgh, I have been reflecting on what more we can do in Eurodiaconia to achieve social justice and access to quality care for all. In Edinburgh, I was bowled over by the range of engagement our members have with some of the most vulnerable in our societies and the range and depth of partnerships they have established in order to do so. We also saw a greater commitment to bringing experience into advocacy and bringing forth proposals for systemic and structural changes to policy. All really encouraging. We also had some deeply moving, informative and challenging moments with people with direct experience of poverty who reflected their life stories in alignment with how social welfare systems did or did not support them. But what impacted me most of all was the strength of feeling around our theme of ‘telling truths – changing lives’.

Our members were very aware of how truth is manipulated today and how that can impact policy. Creating an untrue image of people experiencing long term unemployment, homelessness, family chaos is anathema to the principles of Diaconia and creates stigma, prejudice, and injustice. But we are also challenged to think about how we engage with media to bring more ‘good news stories’ but perhaps more importantly, how do we bring the truth into the public domain more widely?  How do we use digital tools more effectively? How are we more honest about what social change will look like and who needs to be part of the conversation?  How do we ensure that truth brings a new life?

Have a nice weekend,