A new Head of Spiritual and Religious Care (SPARC) has taken up his role within two Black Country Trusts to further enhance patient experience and staff wellbeing.
Reverend Linford Davis is taking up the brand-new role, overseeing the multi-faith chaplaincy teams at both Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
Linford, who lives in Wolverhampton, said he was proud to be joining the NHS following a period in the justice sector, which he described as “challenging at times, but extremely rewarding.”
He said: “Religious, spiritual and pastoral care is often about healing the wounds you can’t see.”
In 2016, aged just 23, he was one of the youngest chaplains in the UK when he was appointed as a chaplain to work within a West Midlands prison, which held 2,100 male inmates. Linford’s commitment to his role and his support and encouragement for colleagues was recognised and he was promoted to a managerial role.
“I joined the prison initially in 2014 in a role which supported prisoners with independent living and life skills, but the managing chaplain heard I was of faith, and had undergone my ministerial training. He asked if I would be interested in joining the chaplaincy team and this kick-started my chaplaincy career where I would support prisoners in all manner of ways.” he said.
“I grew up in a Christian family with parents who are faith leaders. Their example of selfless service inspired me greatly and, as I developed a personal faith, I wanted to reach out to those that are separated and isolated; those who are marginalised and on the fringes of society.
“My personal belief is God does not use superheroes but empowers ordinary people to care for others in an extraordinary way. In my role I can inspire people, and challenge perceptions – helping in that moment and hopefully, in my new role, beyond the hospital doors and into the rest of their life.”
The teams of chaplains across the Trusts offer support in all situations to staff, patients and their families from all backgrounds.
Linford added: “We offer support to anyone associated with the trust, to reconnect with the things in life that help them to make sense of what is happening, or which can help with recovery (if receiving care or treatment. We make no assumptions and pass no judgement. You do not need to be of faith either, we try to connect first on a human-to-human level, which can consist of a simple conversation or times of reflection.”
“We’re positioned uniquely as chaplains to be a voice of hope and comfort, and as a people’s person I believe building rapport is vital in establishing trust; the effectiveness of a chaplaincy department is evidenced by how much they are trusted by both staff and patients.”
Linford hopes to utilise technology and media to further promote the work of the chaplains and to make the services fully accessible for all.
Looking to the future, he said: “I look forward to building on the good work of those before me within chaplaincy and working together with chaplains to continually improve what we’re doing.”