You may not be aware that over the last year at the King's Centre around 60 families have regularly attended our Baby & Toddler groups. They run every week over two sessions and is made up of people who mostly live around the city centre and some families from church. It's so popular that we usually have a waiting list and it's not just for the mums! We're really pleased to have dads and grandparents also.
There are hardly any toddler groups within the city centre, and there's also a lack of public areas for people to play. Yet many families live in this area and so it's great to be able to offer a safe place to play, with enough space to use tricycles, play hopscotch and have some fun!
Children come in at all different stages of development - some of them are ready to interact and join in with the various activities we do, and some aren’t - but by the time they leave, they will all sit down at circle time for stories and songs. Some are so confident that they will leave their parents at circle time and take part with others.
Babies & Toddlers builds strong relationships with many families from the community. Many share their lives with us, many have thanked us for praying for them, many stay after sessions to eat lunch together with the team. A couple of former mums popped back this year just to say hi, and through ongoing personal contact we just heard that another former group member has had a new baby. We see how people trust us in things like a mum recently asking us to hold their new baby so that they could give some rare quality attention to their older child. One Grandma and her husband have recently begun coming to Kings on Sundays because of the love they have experienced at Toddlers. And a couple more families just came to our Easter Sunday service at City Centre.
A number of our regular families have come to Norwich from India, as their husbands are here for work. Wanting to meet people and find activities for them and their children to do, they especially value the friendship they find at Toddlers. Some have found it so valuable that they’ve been in tears when they’ve had to leave. We also have several families from Europe who appreciate our interest and care for them in an increasingly hostile political environment.
At a recent Saturday session for family members who can’t normally get to Toddlers, a Dad asked us how Toddlers is funded. We pointed out the £1.50 charge per session. He said, ‘that barely covers your refreshments. What about all the staff?’ We were able to tell him that we are all volunteers and do it for love. He said, ‘it shows’. One of our mums told us, “Thursdays have been my favourite day this year because [of toddlers]”.
If you would like to find out more about Babies & Toddlers, please contact Lynn Lamb via the church office or email firstname.lastname@example.org