Thank you for supporting 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 bless more children and young people.
We have been busy equipping church leaders across the country to see change - inspiring them to welcome and reach everyone with the Gospel.
Here’s just a few examples of the feedback we’ve received this year so far…
“It was a great evening, and I really appreciated the input personally - not just on behalf of my team!”
Martin Saunders, Director of Innovation and Deputy Chief Executive, Youthscape, re: ‘All Inclusive?’ Reigate
“Well worth attending. Inspirational. Helped identify where change is needed. Even though I have three special needs boys, am a trained SENCO, and work with special needs adults, I have learned so much.” re: ‘All Inclusive?’ "
Salvation Army – West Midlands
“‘All Inclusive?’ is a uniquely valuable and essential training session for anyone to be better equipped to understand, work with, and love those with additional needs. Mark’s specialist knowledge, personal experience, and love for people really comes through and there were lots of very practical ideas to take away and use at home/school/church.”
Dave Pegg, The PACE Trust
…And here’s a little more of what we’ve done together in 2019 already, and what we’re aiming for by the end of the year!
In the first six months of 2019 we have inspired, equipped and enabled 1,026 leaders at 36 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 the year we’re aiming to have reached over 2,000 leaders across the country, and have delivered 60 events.
“Very well presented and led inspirationally by Mark, really positive and encouraging ideas, humbly presented.”
“Liked all the case studies and visuals. It kept my attention well. Thank you.”
‘All Inclusive?’ – Kea Church (Truro)
“I was there today and listened to your talk. So excited walking away from the day - so much inspiration. Thank you.”
“Mark, your session was fab and generated lots of discussion in my team! Thank you!”
Delegates at ‘Toddle On’ Conference (Diocese of Exeter)
We estimate that for every leader trained, at least two children or young people with additional needs are included and supported.
In the first six months of 2019 that would equate to over 2,050 more children and young people able to belong in their church and respond to the Gospel.
By the end of the year we are aiming for that to be over 4,000 more children and young people.
Through the Additional Needs Alliance we’re building an online 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 this year with 31 churches and half-way through the year this has risen to 43 churches listed across the country.
By the end of the year we aim to see that number grow to over 50.
To see the map and directory, and register any churches that you know, visit: http://additionalneedsalliance.org.uk/accessible-churches/
I am co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, and in the spring I shared how this online learning and support community had 1,806 members at the beginning of the year. By half-way through the year this total has grown to 2,012, and by the end of 2019 we’re aiming for 2,300 members to connect and learn together through this community.
"I cannot thank you enough for the answer to my son’s question. I wonder if I needed to hear that even more than he did! You’ve given me a definite tool in my toolbox for expanding on his question with him. Thank you xx"
Re: an answer to a Mum’s request for help with a question from an Autistic child “Why did God make me with Autism?
My additional needs support blog www.theadditionalneedsblogfather.com has been visited by 13,004 people in the first six-months of 2019, as many as in the whole of 2018, with blog posts read 20,220 times (which is more than in the whole of 2018). We have increased our target for 2019 and we now hope to inspire over 25,000 people through this resource, with over 40,000 blog posts read, helping to grow understanding about additional needs and how to support children, young people and families.
Your support has also enabled us to introduce a new resource in 2019, a fortnightly podcast called “It’s Raining Cats And Dogs” (urbansaints.org/itsrainingcatsanddogs). This magazine style podcast shares news, stories, reviews and more, and is already proving to be a popular addition to our support resources.
“A fantastic way to spend 20 minutes, so grab a cuppa and have a listen! Looking forward to Episode 2”
Lynnette Peckett, Inclusion Champion – ‘It’s Raining Cats And Dogs’
In 2019 the budgeted cost of the Additional Needs Ministry is around £50,000. And with your much-appreciated support during our spring appeal we are on track for the year so far.
With your continued support we will be able to meet our immediate costs for the second half of the year by raising a further £7500 needed as a response to this autumn appeal to enable this ministry to continue to grow.
We’ve seen many new doors opening in 2019 and huge leaps forward. More churches, groups and networks have been inspired, trained and equipped. More parents supported and encouraged. More churches are welcoming more and more children and young people with additional needs, providing a safe place to belong and hear the Gospel.
Could you equip and enable us to continue to make an even bigger difference this year, so that even more churches can welcome, help and support families with children with additional needs?
Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. It is greatly appreciated and is making a big, big difference.
Serving Christ together,
Additional Needs Ministry Director
For more information about Urban Saints' Additional Needs Ministry, or to get in touch with Mark, visit: urbansaints.org/additionalneeds