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Langton Award for Wave  


A charity founded by Christians which brings individuals with and without learning disabilities together has won an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury

 

Bernice Hardie and Celia Webst
 
Wave, which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of 2019, encourages and enables all people, regardless of their abilities, to be part of a strong community hub. Wave stands for We Are All Valued Equally.
 
On Tuesday it was announced the charity had been awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s prestigious Langton Award for Community Service, first awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2016 for outstanding contribution to the community in accordance with the Church’s teaching.
 
Wave was established by parents whose Christian faith motivated them to work toward a more inclusive society, based on a belief that in God’s eyes we’re all valued equally.
 
Be it through its support groups for parents of children with additional needs or its cafe where workshops are run for all (art, yoga, meditation), Wave strives to bring people of all walks of life together.  There are also monthly Wave Church gatherings that are informal and creative. They include singing with Makaton signing and bible teaching using pictures, games and drama.
 
Wave co-founder, Bernice Hardie said, ‘We are incredibly honoured to be receiving the Langton Award.  This Award is wonderful recognition of what we have achieved so far. We hope to go on to extend our successful charity model beyond North London so it can benefit many more in future years. Many people feel unwelcome at Church. We hope the wider church can learn from how we have made what is a normally excluded group of people feel so included.’
 
Wave co-founder Celia Webster added, ‘Never before in modern times has the sense of community been so important as it is now.  Feelings of social isolation have been so difficult to cope with for many during lockdown.  We have adapted by moving our community online and it has been great to see it continue to thrive, more people join and new friendships form.’
 
In an independent study conducted by Wave in 2019, it was found that in the midst of what can often be bleak and upsetting news around inclusion efforts, it is possible to effect community change through enabling participation in mixed-ability social places and activities.
 
The report found that 1 in 2 of the UK population is connected with someone with a learning disability either as a family member, friend or colleague and therefore that the issue of social segregation is not a minority concern but one that potentially affects, or is of interest to, a significant proportion of the population. 
 
Muswell Hill, where Wave operates, stands out as different in terms of claimed social connection between individuals with and without learning disabilities. 17 per cent have friends/associates of different abilities versus 11 per cent nationally.  It found that those who have engaged with Wave groups and activities notice retrospectively a shift in their sense of confidence in mixing and their attitude towards those of ‘different’ abilities.  ‘Having fun together’ is a key feature of Wave and a pivotal factor in overcoming initial discomfort and anxiety around mixed abilities socialising.
 

An article by Celia Webster about Wave featured in the Spring edition of Baptists Together magazine.  The theme of that edition of the magazine was “All are welcome here.”


Image | Wave co-founders Bernice Hardie and Celia Webster


 

Baptist Times, 30/06/2020
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