Special church group launched in Norwich
A new initiative of the Diocese of Norwich Youth Task Force, the Special Me Group, has launched to positive feedback as they support people with special needs to come together and learn about God in a fun and accessible environment.
On Saturday 28th April, the Special Me Group (SMG) held its inaugural session at St Michael’s V.A. Junior School in Bowthorpe, West Norwich.
The group provides a warm welcome to anyone who would normally find it difficult to access a church group because of a learning or behavioural difficulty, a hearing or visual impairment or a physical disability.
SMG comes under the umbrella of the Diocese of Norwich Youth Task Force in partnership with the Christian charity Prospects. It has a planned programme of fifteen sessions, meeting on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month, from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.
Each session focusses on a story from the New Testament using activities such as drama, craft, music, singing, puppets and worship. Hearing loops, signing, large visual displays and easy read Bibles are employed throughout and the venue offers good access.
Wayne Doman, the SMG Group Leader, said about the launch: “We had 1 person booked in, but in the end 20 people in total turned up. And out of those 20 people, 7 had a special need. Everyone had a chance to join in the worship and use their abilities to add to the group’s activities. It was especially nice to see so many people signing as they worshipped. The feedback from those attending was very positive.”
“The leadership team are all still on a high from the 1st session and are eagerly looking forward to session 2 on Saturday 12th May.”
The programme allows people with a special need, their siblings and carers to join at any point during the fifteen sessions and stay for as many sessions as they like. The aim is to help prepare people to settle into their local church. The leadership team supports this process by accompanying individuals to church and advising the church of the strengths of the person and how to support them in their learning and worship.
The launch follows months of preparation as the leadership team received training in puppeteering, disability awareness and safeguarding and compiled a host of policies and risk assessments.
If you would like further information about SMG please speak to Wayne or Teresa Doman on 01508 471933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Michael's V.A. Junior School, Astley Road, Chapel Break, Bowthorpe, Norwich, Norfolk NR5 9LA