The CHERISH project team visit Treloar’s College

31st July 2023

The ‘I’ in CHERISH stands for Inclusivity – which means we are committed to making St Mary’s Church building as inclusive as possible for everyone. And this means listening to the voices of people who might have been marginalised or discriminated against in the past. In this context, we were delighted that one of our associate clergy, Revd Stephen Golding, facilitated a visit with students from Treloar’s School & College a special school and college for disabled children and young people aged from 2 to 25, just ahead of his retirement from the College as their Chaplain after five years’ service.

The project team were very impressed and moved by what we saw and shared in, which included a tour of the school and chapel, meeting students and staff. We also received a presentation from a group of young students entitled ‘Let Me In’ which seeks to raise awareness and address issues of accessibility and hidden discrimination in building and public settings. They have been working with the likes of Sainsbury’s, Microsoft and The Ivy restaurant and have helped them consider what it’s like to be treated differently because of a failure to make appropriate provision for their needs. 

The Bible says that we are made ‘in the image of God’ – we gained a very precious and special understanding of this during our visit, one that is largely hidden from us, but perhaps one that we need to open up to and be more aware of than ever before.

Stephen showed us a beautiful video of one of the students Zoe singing the Christian hymn ‘Abide With Me’ which spoke deeply to the CHERISH team about what does it look like to have people with disabilities truly ‘abide with’ a church community.