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Humanists UK commences review of how it responds to major incidents

Grenfell Tower, seen following the disaster in June. Photo: CiralJon/Flickr

Recent tragedies in London and Manchester have touched everybody and prompted tremendous acts of kindness, compassion, and humanity, both from emergency and public service workers and members of the public, and often through the charity sector.

Prompted by recent events, Humanists UK has decided to carry out a review of the support it provides, including from humanist pastoral carers and humanist celebrants, in response to national disasters and major incidents. This is to ensure that humanists are doing the most they can to assist and support victims, relatives, and the emergency services, both during major incidents and in their aftermath.

The review will consider areas such as:

  • strategic and tactical engagement and representation
  • policy and procedure
  • identification and analysis of current capability and capacity
  • recruitment of key volunteers and their required training and development
  • a risk-based approach to regional roll-out

Humanists UK Head of Pastoral Support Simon O’Donoghue announced the emergency response review

Leading this review will be Humanists UK member Richard Spedding, a recently retired superintendent from Lancashire Constabulary who has experience with emergency response procedures.

Humanists UK Head of Pastoral Support Simon O’Donoghue commented, ‘We are delighted that Richard is able to assist in leading this review of such an important public duty. This year has seen so many national tragedies, and this has underlined the importance of humanists doing the most we can to ensure we provide the best support possible to those in need.’


For further comment, please contact our current Head of Pastoral Support Jessica Grace on 020 7324 3069 or at

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

Richard will be ensuring Humanists UK members are kept regularly engaged and consulted with on the review as it develops. In the meantime if you wish to know any further information or offer assistance then please feel free to contact Richard at

Humanists UK administers the Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network, a network of people who provide non-religious pastoral support across a range of institutional and community settings. We aim to grow our network of accredited non-religious pastoral support providers and foster it as a mutually supportive, professionalised community of practice. We encourage and support our volunteers, whilst engaging with relevant bodies to ensure the equal provision of care for the non-religious throughout the UK. For more information, visit

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