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The Good News Club Constitution

THE GOOD NEWS CLUB CONSTITUTION 

 

NAME

The name of the group is called the Good News Club, hereby hereafter referred to as the GNC.

OBJECTS OF THE GOOD NEWS CLUB

The objects of the GNC shall be:

  1. Our ministry with and for children is informed by the three Gospel principles of Truth, Justice and Love.
  2. We recognise the dignity and rights of all children and are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being.
  3. The welfare of the child must always be paramount. We acknowledge that all the members of the Good News Club have a special duty of care towards them. GNC members must create a safe environment for children in order to secure their protection and enable their full participation in the life of the Church.
  4. It is important that children know the limits and boundaries appropriate to their own behaviour and that GNC members are aware of the very best principles of good practice.
  5. Children should be regularly made aware that if they are unhappy about how they are being treated they should immediately tell their parents or a responsible adult.
  6. Children will be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity.
  7. GNC members should avoid developing favouritism or becoming overly involved with any one child.
  8. Bullying of any form (verbal, psychological or physical) will not be tolerated.
  9. Use of information technology – such as mobile phones, email, digital cameras and the internet should be carefully monitored.
  10. There will be an adequate ratio of GNC members to children at all times. Five GNC members must be present in order to run the GNC (at least two GNC members in attendance with the children at all times).
  11. GNC members should avoid as far as possible working in isolation with children. In instances where pastoral need may require privacy for a child, working in isolation should be undertaken in a transparent and open manner. For example: leave door open, notify other leader, note and record meeting.
  12. Physical contact between children and GNC members must be appropriate at all times. While physical contact is a valid way of comforting or re-assuring a child it should take place in an open environment and in response to the need of the child and not the need of the adult.
  13. Photographs of children engaged in church related activities may only be taken and/or made public with parental consent.
  14. GNC members working with children will be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity.
  15. GNC members will not consume alcohol or use illicit drugs while having responsibility for, or in the presence of children.
  16. The GNC club adopts the GNC Code of Practice as an associated document.

POWERS OF THE GOOD NEWS CLUB

In furtherance of the objects, but not otherwise, the GNC Committee may exercise the power to ensure adequate record keeping by keeping a:

  • Roll Call Book
  • Accident/Incident Report Book-This book will record all concerns which may not initially need to be reported to the HSE (blue book)
  • Volunteer Application Forms- held by the Administrator of the Parish
  • Garda Vetting Forms- held by the Administrator of the Parish
  • Attendance Record of the GNC members and the children (blue book)

A clearly communicated Accident/Emergency plan to include:

  • Ready access to First Aid
  • Emergency numbers on display
  • Accident/Incident Report Forms
  • The keeping of an Accident/Incident Book

Procedures to be followed if a parent/guardian has a complaint:

  • All complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with fairly and confidentially. Efforts will be made to resolve complaints quickly and informally through discussion with the parents and GNC members as appropriate.
  • Parents and children will be made aware that there is a complaints procedure in operation and will receive a copy of the complaints form as part of the Safeguarding Children policy.
  • If a parent/guardian/child is not satisfied with any aspect of the running of a particular activity or the behaviour of any individual involved in that activity they should first seek to resolve the issue informally by discussion with the person in charge of the GNC or their immediate superior as appropriate.
  • If the issues is unresolved or re-occurs, the complaint should be put in writing to the Administrator of the Parish or the Chairperson of the Pastoral Council.
  • A meeting may then be organised with the complainant (as appropriate) to try and resolve the issue.
  • Written records of discussion and agreements made will be kept of this meeting and copies made available to parents, (as appropriate).
  • Most complaints are resolved at this stage. However, if there are other or more serious issues arising from the complaint, then both sides may agree the need for a third party to mediate in relation to the complaint.

If a GNC member is not satisfied with the behaviour of a child in their care, efforts should be made to resolve the issue by:

  • Discussion with the child – they will be given two warnings in the GNC and then returned to their parents in the church
  • Involvement of  Parents/Guardians
  • Agreed sanctions.

If there is any concern about the welfare or safety of a child in their home, in the community or in a church related activity the following procedure will be followed by all GNC members:

  • All concerns, suspicions, disclosures or allegations of abuse must be referred as soon as it is possible to a Diocesan Designated Person.
  • When a GNC member receives a child protection concern from an adult he/she should actively encourage the person who is raising the concern, whether or not the person raising the concern wishes to report it to the civil authorities, it should be explained to them that diocesan policy requires that the matter be referred to a Diocesan Designated Person.

Parish Child Protection Representative  Ann Toal  085/7380219

Fr. John O’ Boyle                             093 24166/52284 (ext. 2) or

Mrs. Mary Trench                            087 9315823

HSE’s contact numbers:

Castlebar 094 90 22333                    Oughterard 091 552200

Ballina 096 21511                            Galway  091 523122 / 546369

Castlerea 090 6637842                     Athenry 091 544274

Ballinasloe 09019 646200                  Tuam 093 26800

Church personnel, lay, religious or ordained who are the subject of an investigation – civil or canonical may be asked to step aside from their ministry and duties for the duration of the investigation. While the matter is pending, the respondent is presumed innocent and has the right to his or her good name.

 

MEMBERSHIP

  1. Membership shall be open to anyone who has an interest in assisting the GNC to achieve its aim and is willing to adhere to the rules of the GNC.
  2. Where it is considered membership would be detrimental to the aims and activities of the GNC, the GNC Committee shall have the power to refuse membership, or may terminate or suspend the membership of any member by resolution passed at a meeting. Members shall have the right to appeal via an independent adjudicator determined by mutual agreement of the GNC committee.
  3. Develop clear job descriptions.
  4. All vacancies should be openly advertised.
  5. Application forms should be used for recruitment.
  6. All GNC membership appointments are subject to Garda clearance and/or the signing of a Declaration Form.
  7. All GNC members should undertake a recognised ongoing programme for child protection training. Training will be provided by the Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee through HSE accredited trainers.
  8. All GNC members must sign up to the Safeguarding Children Policy of Diocese of Tuam.
  9. Up to date contact lists should be kept in respect of all GNC members.
  10. Regular supervision and support will be available to new and existing GNC members and volunteers.
  11. Any member of the GNC may resign his/her membership by providing the Secretary with written notice.
  12. If a member cannot attend the GNC on Sunday then a replacement must be found as the GNC needs a minimum of five members to operate.
  13. The GNC committee will decide where to place new members.
  14. Dual ministry – if a GNC member is serving as Eucharistic Minister, Minister of the Word, Choir etc. then it is advisable that the GNC member makes alternative arrangements for that Sunday as only one ministry can be operational during the celebration of Mass.

GNC COMMITTEE

(i) The Group shall be administered by a GNC committee of no less than three people and no more than fifteen, who must be at least eighteen years of age. Members will be elected for a period of up to three years, but may be re-elected at the Group’s AGM.

 

OFFICERS

(i) The Group shall have a committee consisting of:

The Chairperson

The Treasurer

The Secretary

The PRO

Two Representatives to the Liturgy Group and any additional officers the GNC deems necessary at the meeting to carry out the required activities.

 

MEETINGS

(i) The committee shall meet at least four times a year. Meetings shall enable the GNC to discuss actions and monitor progress to date, and to consider future developments.

(ii) All members shall be given at least four days’ notice when a meeting is due to take place, unless it is deemed an emergency.

(iii) Two-thirds of committee members must be present in order for a meeting to take place.

(iv) It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence. All meetings must be minuted and accessible to interested parties.

(v) The AGM shall take place no later than three months after the end of the financial year. At least fourteen days’ notice must be given before the meeting takes place.

(vi) All members are entitled to vote at the AGM. Voting shall be made by a show of hands on a majority basis. In the case of a tied vote, the Chairperson or an appointed deputy shall make the final decision.

FINANCE

(i) Any money acquired by the GNC, including the parish funds, donations, contributions and bequests, will be the responsibility of the treasurer. All funds must be applied to the objects of the GNC and for no other purpose.

(ii) If any bank accounts are opened in the name of the GNC then any deeds, cheques etc. relating to the GNC bank account shall be signed by at least two of the following committee members: Chairperson; Treasurer; Secretary.

(iii) Any income/expenditure shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer who will be accountable to ensure funds are utilised effectively and that the GNC stays within budget. Official accounts shall be maintained.  An annual financial report shall be presented at the AGM. The GNC’s accounting year shall run from 01 February to 31 January.

 

ROLES IN EACH TEAM

  1. Liturgist/Reader 

Greet the children warmly and introduce each member of the team by name. Explain we have all gathered to listen to God’s word and to praise him. Informal chat with the children.

The candle is lit (battery operated) and this reminds us that Jesus is the “light of the world” who speaks to us all through the Gospel readings.

Open with the sign of the cross and the Good News Prayer.

Liturgist introduces the theme of the Gospel.

Before the Gospel is read, say the acclamation and make the sign of the cross on the head, lips and heart.

The Gospel according to……..

Glory to you O Lord.

A GNC member or one of the older children in the group reads a simple version of the Gospel. At the end of the Gospel reading the following acclamation is said:

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Discussion of the Gospel with the children.

Activity ensues in line with the Gospel theme affording each child an opportunity to participate. The time available for completing the activity is often very short so it is important to have as much as possible prepared in advance. Background music linked to the theme of the day may be played to create an atmosphere while the children complete their activities.

Prayers and reflection may be included if time permits.

Finish with the sign of the cross.

  1. Contact Person – highlighted on the list

Informs the group when they are on duty for Sunday and arranges a pre-meeting

  1. Bible Bearer

No less than five minutes before Mass starts, the Bible Bearer will place a coloured sheet on the lectern informing the celebrant about the theme of the GNC and the offertory gift.

GNC member will bear bible to the front of church (wearing the GNC bib) as part of the opening procession with the celebrant and the servers.

On celebrant’s call the bearer will:

  • Bow to the tabernacle
  • Lead children to the club with the Bible held high and place the Bible on the altar.
  • GNC members will meet the children at the church door and escort them to the appropriate club room
  • If the celebrant forgets to call the GNC, then the bearer will stand up and try to alert the celebrant.

 

  1. Listener

Listener must alert leaders of the club at the start of the Creed to advise them to organise the children to leave the GNC. The GNC finishes at the start of the Prayers of the Faithful. The Listener will then help supervise the children returning to the church.

  1. Offertory Person

Escorts the child/children bearing the offertory gifts to the porch of the church and direct them up the church for the offertory procession (no offertory procession will take place if there is a funeral).

  1. Person/s to assist Liturgist/Reader
  • preparation of  room and altar
  • leaving out and collecting the sandwich board/s and banner at the entrance/s to the church
  • will record GNC members in attendance in the Incident and Report Book
  • One team member will stay outside for five minutes in case of latecomersand also at the end of the GNC to make sure all children have returned to their parents in the church.
  • will record the number of children attending in the Incident and Report Book and also take a roll call
    • by handing out crayons and  leaflets
    • leading the children to and from the room
    • Two members to stay in the Church until end of  Mass wearing the GNC bib
    • leaving the spare  newsletters at the two porch doors of the church
    • collecting offertory gifts from the altar
    • writing up the summary for the next group and
    • cleaning and tidying the room after the GNC ends.

If the children are joining the celebrant on the altar for the Gospel then the children will sit in the front two pews of the church accompanied by four members of the GNC whilst the other two members will take up their position at the James Street door and the front door.

 In the case of a funeral, the children will meet as normal in the GNC rooms but there will be no offertory gift. If there is a large funeral, the GNC team in consultation with the celebrant can decide to cancel the GNC for that day due to health and safety issues for the children entering and exiting the church.

 

ALTERATIONS OF THE GOOD NEWS CLUB CONSTITUTION

(i) Any changes to this GNC Constitution must be agreed by a majority vote at a special general meeting. This document is copyright of the GNC, St. Mary’s Church, The Mall, Westport, County Mayo.

(ii) Amendments to this constitution or dissolution of the GNC must be conveyed to the Secretary formally in writing. The Secretary and other officers shall then decide on the date of a special general meeting to discuss such proposals, giving members at least four weeks/twenty eight days notice.

 

DISSOLUTION OF THE GOOD NEWS CLUB

The GNC may be dissolved if deemed necessary by the members in a majority vote at a special meeting. Any assets or remaining funds after debts have been paid shall be returned to their providers or transferred to local charities or similar groups at the discretion of the GNC Committee.

This constitution was adopted at a meeting held at Carrowbeg House, The Mall, Westport, County Mayo on Tuesday 17th November, 2015 by:

Signed: Chairperson

                                      ........................................................................

           Cait Geraghty

Signed: Secretary           .......................................................................

                                      Leonie Cunningham

Signed: Treasurer           .......................................................................              

                                      Geraldine Noonan

Signed: PRO                  .......................................................................

                                      Tim Gunning

Signed: Representative to the Liturgy Group

                                      .......................................................................

                                      Mary Mitchell

Signed:  Representative to the Liturgy Group

                                      ......................................................................

                                      Gerri Staunton

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