Outline for conference keynote

Joanna Mutlow

Core SPaRC Practitioner, Bradford Teaching Hospitals
Accredited by the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network
Author: Being There: responses in Humanist Pastoral Care (Humanists UK 2020)
Spotify Podcast with Rev Stig Graham: Opening Up Chaplaincy


‘We knew we needed to change, but we didn’t know how’

At the end of 2020, Joanna Mutlow was drafted in on a 6 month contract to work in the chaplaincy team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals. The brief was to establish what need there might be to respond to non-religious worldviews and how, if at all, a non-religious member of the team might add value. Joanna, who conveniently had a background in project management, will share the factors and strategies that led to a rich exploratory journey for the team, navigating through the demands of the pandemic whilst engaging in an aspirational articulation of the Bradford Model for Spiritual, Pastoral and Religious Care (SPaRC).

The SPaRC team were enabled in this process by the Lead Nurse for Patient Experience who was keen to more fully understand the workings and impact of this team, and by the team leader, an Iman, who knew things needed to change but was not sure how to do this, working as the team had done up to that point, with a multi-faith, rather than a cross-belief ethos.

Finding our common ground; focussing primarily on equality and person-centred care, means that the team now share in the challenge of meeting everybody’s needs. We aim to deliver inclusive, not generic, spiritual care, enhanced by our different beliefs and worldviews, enriched by our differences.

The Bradford Model will not happen overnight. We are one year into a three year implementation of SPaRC which will involve lots of communications, some team reorganisation, more inclusive spiritual spaces and a self-service app for staff and patients to supplement our service reach and personalisation. Joanna hopes that you will feel the excitement and commitment in the team backed by the engagement and pride of the executive in our work.

The Bradford Model is born from the proudly multi-cultural context of this city. But it also demonstrates that true and fair change only happens when space is made at the table for all stakeholders, that relationships of respect, humility and curiosity are essential in cross-belief working and if we concentrate primarily on the human qualities you need to be a good SPaRC practitioner, we can find the common ground from which to deliver more individualised spiritual care.