04/05/2016

‘Inclusion matters’ as five of our churches gain Disabled Friendly Church Awards

St Stephens, Hightown; St Oswalds Netherton; St Nicholas, Whiston; St Georges, Everton and St Lukes, Great Crosby celebrated together at a joint service on 26th April having each been awarded the Disabled Friendly Church Award.

The churches each completed a set of requirements to reach the status of Disabled Friendly. These included a building audit and any adaptions needed from that and education evenings and looking at safeguarding for vulnerable adults.

Ruth Reed, Vulnerable Adults Adviser & Disability Officer for Dioscese of Liverpool said “These churches are a mix of old and new buildings. The award says a lot more about the attitude of the congregation than having the best access to a building.”

The award now means that each church can display their status as being Disability Friendly outside of the church. Showing the community that openness and welcome to all people into the life of the church is important to them.

Ruth continued “It is about inclusion. God includes all people into his Kingdom. It shouldn’t be optional but a reality, something to be lived each day.”

“We are looking for more churches to apply. The time to complete the award does depend on the building and situation but roughly it takes about a year and often only small, relatively cheap adaptations are needed. Little changes can make a massive difference.”
Double celebration for St Nicholas Whiston
St Nicholas, Whiston had a double reason to celebrate as they completed both the Disabled Friendly and Child Friendly church awards side by side. They were awarded the Child Friendly Church Award in October 2015 and as you have just read above, added to this with the Disabled Friendly Award last week.

Emma O’Hagan, Youth and Families Missioner at the Diocese of Liverpool said “This is a great example of a church that has seen the benefits of completing both awards simultaneously. As highlighted at the ‘Joining the Pieces’ event recently, the awards offered by the diocese do complement each other and the joined up approach is highly recommended.”

Revd Andy Telfer said “As a PCC we decided to pursue both awards in tandem. Yes, it means that we can take advantage of using two colourful logos on our website and other publicity material  - but more importantly, both processes have helped us to reflect on areas of strength and weakness in our church as well as identify and implement both important changes and seemingly little things that can make a huge difference. Thanks to all who took part for their time and input.”

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More information

Take a look at the Disabled Friendly Church Award pages here for more information.