All Saints Church, Ipswich, received a £500 growth fund to help them kickstart their toddler group again after the difficulties presented by Covid. The grant enabled the church to replace tatty old toys with newer and better equipment, which has shown the attendees (especially the toddlers) that the church values them enough to invest in them. The original toddler group had closed well before Covid struck, and as the original equipment wasn’t up to par, the church started from scratch.
With the help of an experienced and enthusiastic staff team who had run toddler groups in different churches, prayers and brainstorms happened, following a plan of action.
It was decided the local area (within walking distance) would be leafleted with promotional material for the new toddler group. Whilst it was unknown how many (if any!) would come along to the first session, the staff team were pleasantly surprised when 15 children arrived. 14 months later, and numbers have risen to over 40 regular attendees, with the month of May topping over 50.
A typical session consists of crafts, snack time and Story and Rhyme time, lasting approximately two hours. The group has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and when asked for a testimonial, the childminders of the group were overwhelmingly positive:
“To Everyone at All Saints Church We would just like to say thank you for the kind donation that was made to the Church for the Mums and Tots Group. The money has been well spent on educational toys/resources, and the climbing/balance beams. The children are always made very welcomed, along with their parents/carers. All the volunteers are helpful and friendly, and interact with the children. All our children love coming.”
On top of this, the group has been praised by many for “feeling like a family”, and as a result of this, 3 of the families attending Toddler group now attend church regularly.
The Revd Danny Morrison, and Lay minister (Reader) Jane Cornish pop in to the group, which really helps to solidify the bridge between toddlers and the church family. Several of the families, and Child minders attended the recent Coronation Family fun day, which is yet another connection. The children also receive a birthday card, and Bible story book at Christmas and Easter to ensure they really feel part of the church family.