The Urban Saints Additional Needs Ministry is still really busy but urgently needs your help to keep going!
“Thank you for the (online) training session this evening. It was definitely a good substitute for us not being able to be together properly.”
Since this area of Urban Saints’ ministry started eight years ago, we have gathered, trained and equipped over 10,000 church children’s youth and families workers, parents, carers and more to support, include and create belonging for children and young people with additional needs. We estimate that for each person trained, at least two children are supported, so over 20,000 children and young people with additional needs or disabilities are being helped to hear and respond to the Gospel that may not otherwise have been.
However, the current coronavirus pandemic has meant that we’ve had to adapt in order to keep providing this vital training. Now, more than ever, ensuring that children with additional needs are included in what groups and churches are offering online is really important and we’ve been reaching out with support in different ways.
Training via Zoom and Microsoft Teams
“It gave me insight and inspiration into the future of our children’s work; great answer to prayer."
We’ve been able to switch some of our ‘All Inclusive?’ training to be delivered in different ways. By sending training workbooks out in advance, sharing videos to watch, then gathering people together on Zoom or Microsoft Teams to discuss questions, work through case studies and signpost towards further resources, we’ve been able to keep equipping groups and churches to reach out to and support everyone.
“It was really good to receive the online videos and workbook information well in advance of the Zoom meeting. I found that really helpful as it can be tricky fitting everything in at the moment with children being home too. The breakout session during the meeting was a good idea as it gave us the opportunity to chat a bit more freely.”
CAN-I online training modules
As well as running ‘All Inclusive?’ training via Zoom and Teams, we’ve been developing online training modules that people can engage with and learn through either as part of a learning community or individually.
The first CAN-I (Churches Additional Needs Inclusion) training module, focussing on creating ‘Belonging During Lockdown And Beyond’, is available for free here.
“I signed up for (the CAN-I) course and listened to all the videos. It's brilliant. I particularly liked the accessible resources and the ideas about including families with no online access.”
Your help needed urgently
As we explore these different ways of providing much needed training there are unavoidable costs that need to be met, including equipment and software to enable online training to work well. At the same time, we’ve seen a squeeze on our income due to a reduction in face-to-face training bookings.
Currently we are about £3,000 short of our spring fundraising target and any help that you could give would enable us to reach the most vulnerable, isolated and excluded children with the good news of the Gospel at this difficult time.