Westbury Gardens United Reformed Church (URC) in Blackburn is the latest in a growing number of congregations to receive a Children and Youth Friendly Award.

The Children and Youth Friendly Church Scheme can help your church improve the welcome it gives to children, young people, and families.

Churches that join the scheme work with a trained accompanier who helps them to identify what they’re currently doing to welcome young people and develop ways to improve it.

Westbury Gardens URC worked with Leo Roberts, North Western Synod’s CYDO+, their minister the Revd Adam Woodhouse and Mal Breeze their Church Related Community (CRCW) minister.

Leo said: “I was pleased to see evidence of the church’s four mission statements being practiced during my visits and in conversations.”

The statements are: be responsive to God’s call, encourage each other to grow in Christ, further develop links with other Christian churches locally to witness in the neighbourhood, continue to be a resource on which the local neighbourhood can draw and seek new ways of providing a service.

Westbury URC was able to evidence how children and young people feature at the heart of its mission. For example, they are included on meeting agendas so that the Elders and the missional partnership minsters can continually focus on how best to reach out to the younger generation.

As well as Messy Church and holiday clubs, on special occasions members of the congregation visit the community-run judo group to offer cakes and refreshments to families and the young people as a gift from the church and the Young people from the judo club attend and take part in the church’s special Christmas  Lantern service led by their minister and CRCW and are now exploring ways to provide Faith related activities alongside the Judo Grading Sessions that happen at regular intervals during the year

Westbury Gardens URC has good relationships with local schools doing Messy Church sessions and related Art Work with several local Primary Schools and provide Bible Based Summer Holiday Clubs. The Revd Adam Woodhouse and Mal Breeze take assemblies at several local schools and Adam offers religious education lessons at one of them.

Last year, the church connected with Clitheroe Grammar School. Around 60 Year 10 students on an education faith trip spent an hour visiting the church to learn about the denomination before continuing their journey at a local Mosque and a Hindu temple.

As a result of the visit, the school has made plans to repeat the trip with another class later this year as part of its “faith in action” studies. The church will also continue working with other local schools either through visits to/from the schools and /or local Mosques.

Learn more about the Children and Youth Friendly Scheme.



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