Wave wins Langton Award

Making waves in the community North London Charity Wave Wins Prestigious Award for Community Service

On 30 June 2020, North London based charity Wave is being awarded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s prestigious Langton Award for Community Service. Previous winners of the Langton Award have included Frank Ernest Field; he received it in 2017 for ‘sustained and outstanding commitment to social welfare’.

 

Wave, which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the end of 2019, brings individuals with and without learning disabilities together.  Community is right at the heart of what it does.  It encourages and enables ALL people, regardless of their abilities, to be part of a strong community hub.  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. 

 

Commenting on behalf of Wave founder, Bernice Hardie says: “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 Cecilia Webster adds: “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% have friends/associates of different abilities versus 11% 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.


Archbishop of Canterbury announces 2020 Lambeth Awards recipients

 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, today (30th June 2020) announced this year’s recipients of Lambeth Awards for outstanding contributions to the Church and wider society. 

In total 32 awards were this year given to people from across the Church and beyond in fields including evangelism, the Religious life, safeguarding, ecumenism, theology and interfaith relations. 

The recipients include people from New Zealand, Kenya and the USA, as well as a number of others in the UK and Ireland. The awards are usually presented at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace, which this year has had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. 

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “This is the fifth year of the Lambeth Awards, and I am constantly impressed and humbled by the work that recipients have accomplished, sometimes in the most challenging circumstances. Not all are followers of Jesus Christ, but all contribute through their faith to the mutual respect and maintenance of human dignity which are so vital to spiritual and social health.” 

 

For creating places of true inclusion for people with and without learning disabilities.

 

For the past ten years, Bernice Hardie and Celia Webster have tirelessly championed the creation of spaces where those with and without learning disabilities are truly welcomed and valued. 

What began as a place where the families of children with learning disabilities could feel less alone has expanded into a movement that has helped to transform the community in Muswell Hill. As one person who attends Wave Café put it: “Disability is incidental at Wave Café. It’s not a team of people without learning disabilities supporting people with, it’s just a natural mix of people having a fun time.” 

Recent research suggests that the work of Wave, from the monthly church service to a group for families of babies and children with additional needs, has played an important role in creating a community in Muswell Hill that is much more open to the mixing of people with and without learning disabilities than the population at large. Their ethos of “with not for” ensures that those who are afraid of being patronised or judged instead find an environment in which they are not “othered” but equally valued, asked to serve as well as be served. 

As co- founders, Bernice and Celia have been central in all of this, while encouraging others to share in the leading of Wave. 

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