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Supporting People Living With Special Needs and Disabilities ~ Connecting people, Changing lives…

Stronger together: ASNA Respite and training weekend 2016

Another fantastic weekend! The 15th and largest ASNA Respite and Training weekend took place during the weekend of the 8-10th April 2016 at the Sunningdale Park hotel, Ascot. The weather promised to be wet but sunshine and joy prevailed! Over 150 gathered for this annual event developed to bring an oasis of support, learning and peer support to those living with disabilities and special needs as well as provide training and awareness for volunteers and disability coordinators throughout the UK.

Delegates enjoyed excellent workshops, good food and fresh air! Creative and innovative worship was presented by the puppet ministry from the Watering Hole church from Southampton led by Pastor Rosemary Lethbridge. Watching all the children engage in creative art, music and a taking part in the puppet presentation was enough to see the impact of the weekend. Parent carers were able to attend worship and peer support sessions for sharing experiences, challenges and encouragement while children and young people enjoyed a parallel program led and organised by Caroline Kamara ASNA children and young people coordinator.

Praying together

Praying together

The adult program for adults with learning disabilities and special needs was coordinated by the Camphill Ministry team members from Birmingham. Delegates included residence from local independent living group MENCAP based in Milton Keynes. Support workers commented on the positive impact of the weekend on the residence. I really liked taking part in the concert...thank you for asking me to lead the worship... I cannot wait for the next event... These were some of the comments from the adults with additional needs leading worship and taking part in the annual evening concert giving all a chance to share talents and gifts. Natasha Mirilov and the team from the SEC media were 'blown away' by the energy and experiences of the delegates. I feel blessed to be here to hear the stories and experiences of the delegates.

The afternoon walk provided a healthy challenge for the delegates and a chance to mingle and make new friends. Workshops presented by Pastor Kevin Johns and Sister Margaret Johns provided an insight into the pathfinder program and an opportunity for the SEC Pathfinder Director to hear from families how the club would benefit from developing more inclusive and creative teaching and learning methods to enable access for all children and young people as well as implementing a policy of providing disability awareness training for all staff and volunteers involved with the Pathfinder ministry. Dental hygiene by Margaret Johns and understanding the Carer’s Bill presented by Sonia Munroe were workshop for the Sunday morning and afternoon. The annual ASNA AGM highlighted the work of the charity in 2015 as well as providing opportunities for useful discussions and ideas from its members for the charity moving forward.

IMG_0806We look forward to the next ASNA weekend for Carers. We also celebrate the activities and programs so far in 2015/ 2016. These have included providing resources at the annual SEC Expo where over 1,000 members come together to gather new insight and resources for their role in local churches.  Local church training included Hutton, Stonebridge, Palmers Green, Tottenham, North Wembly for the first AREA wide Disability Celebration and Training weekend. 2015 also saw the launch of the new play commissioned by ASNA Don't Count me out. This play depicted the experiences of a family whose lives were turned around after a near fatal accident.

We continue to thank all our supporters, donors, contacts and members for their support both monetary and the time they provide to make the work of the charity possible. Thanks especially to all our volunteer Carers without whom, the charity could not function. Thanks be to God for His leading and direction. 

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