Malachi being supported by Sarah

Additional Needs Ministry

16th Apr 2020

He said to them, “Go into all the world. 
Preach the good news to everyone.”

Mark 16:15 (New International Reader’s Version, as used in the Accessible Edition New Testament) 


Thank you to everyone who continues to support of the Additional Needs Ministry at Urban Saints, whether by remembering us in prayer, attending events, sending encouragement or providing the finance that allows us to continue and support more children and young people like Malachi

Last autumn I asked for support to reach our appeal target of £7,500 to equip and enable us to continue to make an even bigger difference for families with children with additional needs. 

By God’s grace, and your support, we reached our target and have been busy training and inspiring more church children’s, youth and families workers across the country to welcome and reach everyone with the Gospel, including children and young people with additional needs and disabilities like Malachi. Here’s a testimonial from one of them, sharing how the work we do has had such a positive impact: 

“I attended an ‘All Inclusive?’ evening as the newly appointed Additional Needs Coordinator for Teddington Baptist Church. I found it an extremely helpful, informative evening and as a result I invited Mark to lead an ‘All Inclusive?’ training evening at our church later in the year. 

It was a fantastic evening, with over 70 people attending, not only from our church but also many local churches. Mark delivered the course in a very clear and relaxed way. It included lots of practical ideas for including children and young people who have additional needs. Plenty of time was given during the evening for any questions to be asked. 

After attending the training, not only did the children and youth leaders feel better equipped to help children and young people with additional needs, but many of the other church members understood more about our additional needs families, some of the difficulties they might face when coming to church and how to support them. I fully recommend it for your church too!”
Lynnette Peckett 

…And here’s a little more of what we’ve done together in 2020 already, and what we’re aiming for by the end of the year! 



In 2019 we inspired, equipped and enabled 1,622 leaders at 58 training and conference events across the UK, giving them the tools to make a difference in their own church and community. By the end of 2020 with your support we’re aiming to have reached another 2,000 leaders across the country and to have delivered 60 more events. 

“This seminar is amazing! Whether you have experience of engaging with people with additional needs or none, it is accessible and really helpful. Practical tips, theological reflection, contextual info. Fab! So excited to take some of this forward.”
Re: ‘All Inclusive?’ – Worcestershire – January 2020 

“Very well organised and professional, so much useful information. Excellent tools and resources, it has helped me immensely on a personal level as well as in church groups.”
Re: ‘All Inclusive?’ – North Wales – January 2020 


Children and Young People

We estimate that for every leader trained, at least two children or young people with additional needs like Malachi are included and supported. In 2019 that would equate to over 3,200 more children and young people able to belong in their church and respond to the Gospel. By the end of 2020 we’re aiming to add another 4,000 more children and young people to that number. 



Through the Additional Needs Alliance we’re building a map and directory of accessible, inclusive churches that have a range of resources, equipment and support in place for families of children and young people with additional needs. We started 2019 with 31 churches and by the end of January 2020 this has risen to 61 churches listed across the country. By the end of the year we aim to see that number grow to over 100. To see the map and directory, and register any churches that you know, visit:


Blog views

We had a target in 2019 for the blog to achieve 40,000 views, helping to grow understanding about additional needs and how to support children, young people and families. 

Well, those figures were exceeded by one blog post alone, ‘Why Children With Additional Needs Are Like Edgar The Dragon’, about the John Lewis Christmas advert, with it going viral and being viewed by 57,500 people! 

We were also thrilled to get this wonderful endorsement and comment from Bobby Rubio, the writer, director and producer of Disney/Pixar’s new animated Sparkshorts film ‘Float’, and Dad to an Autistic boy, about the blog post ‘Why Disney Pixar’s New Animated Short ‘Float’ Is About Autism’

“Hi Mark! Thank you for this wonderful write up! Don’t change a thing! It’s nice to hear that we’re now in the UK! WE are not alone! Please tell your son I said Hi!”

Bobby Alcid Rubio – Pixar 

We’ve increased our expectations for the blog this year, with a target to reach over 100,000 people through the blog in 2020


Support community

I am co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, and previously I have shared how this online learning and support community had 1,806 Members at the beginning of 2019. At the end of January 2020 this total has grown to 2,275, and by the end of 2020 we’re aiming for 2,750 children’s and youth workers, parents, church leaders and more to connect and learn together through this community. 


New – ‘CAN-I’ online training

A new project for 2020 is the creation of a range of online additional needs training courses, called CAN-I, built in collaboration with education sector online training specialist, Schudio. Progress with this project is really encouraging, and we hope to have content ready to launch later this year. 

 “I think it’s fantastic. The flow of it is perfect and from my point of view uses the technology really effectively to cover the subject.”

Ian Richardson - schudio 

To register your interest in CAN-I, please click here: becoming-an-inclusive-church or email me at



In 2020 the budgeted cost of the Additional Needs Ministry is around £50,000 and with your continued support we will be able to close the gap to meet our immediate costs for the first half of the year by raising the £7,500 needed as a response to this Spring appeal. 

We’ve seen so many new doors opening in 2019 and more are opening as we move forward into 2020. More churches, groups, organisations and networks have been inspired, trained and equipped. More children and young people, and their families, are supported and encouraged, with more churches providing a safe place for everyone to belong and respond to the Gospel. 

Could you partner with us to help us to reach our £7,500 Spring appeal target? Could you equip and enable us to continue to make an even bigger difference this year, so that even more churches can welcome, encourage and support families with children with additional needs like Malachi

Donate now


I would also love to hear your stories, as well as provide you with opportunities to receive prayer materials, information packs for friends and family, options to give regularly or one-off, and also to receive information about providing a future legacy. Please do get in touch.


Thank you so much for your encouragement and support, it is greatly appreciated and is making a big, big difference! 

Serving Christ together, 

Mark Arnold
Additional Needs Ministry Director Urban Saints 

For more information about Urban Saints' Additional Needs Ministry visit: