It’s Time To Start Planning For A Return To Children’s, Youth & Families Work

There are a range of things that have suddenly appeared and taken over our lives in the past few months, ‘Coronavirus’, ‘COVID-19’, ‘Social-Distancing’, ‘Lockdown’, ‘PPE’ and more, and there is so much uncertainty as to if, when and how it’s all going to end. But in these strange times that we live in, especially as children’s, youth or families workers, or parents, other family members or carers of children and young people with additional needs, as we look forward to better days, days when we can all meet safely in our churches, children’s and youth groups etc. there is something else that we can do as well as look forward (and pray)… we can plan!

Now is the ideal time to be thinking about how to make the children’s, youth and families work that we are involved in, either as practitioners or as parents or carers, ready to welcome children and young people back again… all of them, including children and young people with additional needs. We’ve got a golden, once-in-a-lifetime, chance while everything is shut down to get ourselves ready, equipped, prepped for when things all start up again. So here’s a few things for us to think through and act on to get us started (based on a ‘Toolkit’ article I wrote for the Boys’ Brigade ‘Gazette’ publication, ‘Summer 2020’ issue), I hope you find these toolkit tips helpful, you can download a free .pdf of this resource later in this blog post:
BB Gazette Toolbox p1
BB Gazette Toolbox p2
BB Gazette Toolbox p3
BB Gazette Toolbox p4

You can download a free .pdf of this resource here:
Toolbox – Additional Needs

The online version of the Boys’ Brigade ‘Gazette’ article is here:

Working with Children With Additional Needs

If you would like to chat more about how to get ready for a return to children’s, youth and families work, especially regarding children and young people with additional needs or disabilities, please get in touch. During this time I’m providing consultancy and training online and can help you to be envisioned, equipped and enabled ready to be accessible, inclusive and to create belonging for all in your group.

You can find out more about the Additional Needs Ministry that I lead at Urban Saints here:
Please contact me about this at

And you can explore the range of information, tools and resources to help you in this area through the Additional Needs Alliance here:

There are many of us that offer resources, and here’s a hand list:
Accessible resources - list

Do take this opportunity to review the children’s, youth and families work that you are involved in, a chance like this may never come along again and it will be a positive outcome of a difficult and challenging time. It might just be that in the future you can look back at this time and reflect on the sad things that happened, but also look around you at how the church or group you’re a part of was transformed for good during this time too.

Looking forward to hearing from you… 🙂


See also:

What Kids With Special Needs Want To Tell Us And How We Can Help

10 Ways To Belong, A Resource For Every Church

Church Children’s Work: Do ‘Age Groups’ or ‘Interest Groups’ Work Best?

Image rights: Toolkit pages © The Boys’ Brigade/Urban Saints/Mark Arnold, list of resources/activities © Included By Grace/Lynn & Sio McCann/Widget Software

4 thoughts on “It’s Time To Start Planning For A Return To Children’s, Youth & Families Work

  1. Great post Mark. I am trying to plan for the future in a personal way at the moment and am getting there by making small steps when I can. Nothing is easy, I just hope that the goodwill between people at the moment turns into something more concrete in terms of inclusion. Keep safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a helpful toolkit. It is great to take the time now to make plans for the future. Inclusion is so important and I am sure your advice will help many groupsl.

    Liked by 1 person

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