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Newbold Student Association’s Impact Recognised: awarded for exceptional ASNA support

In a recent celebration of inclusivity and community, the Newbold Student Association (NSA), was honoured with the Outstanding Group Fundraiser Award for remarkable support of the Adventist Special Needs Association (ASNA). This recognition, presented on 2 December 2022, highlighted the spirit of togetherness and appreciation for diversity.

The ASNA’s annual inclusive fundraising gospel concert aims to enhance a sense of belonging for individuals with disabilities and special needs. The mission, captured in the charity’s motto “A world without barriers to belong in,” focuses on breaking down stereotypes and creating authentic opportunities for all.

ASNA’s Director Sophia Nicholls highlighted the significance of inclusive ministry, emphasising its role as their primary focus:

“Inclusive ministry is our main focus; it provides a space for people with disabilities or special needs where they can truly belong. Music becomes a tool that allows them to be ministers, giving them opportunities that are often elusive.” – Sophia Nicholls

ASNA goes beyond events, actively engaging in training and awareness programmes to address unconscious biases from a faith-based perspective. Their goal is to offer further understanding and dismantle stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities.

The annual concert serves as a platform for inclusivity, direct support, and awareness. ASNA aims to unite individuals from diverse backgrounds in a shared family experience, celebrating diversity and showcasing the talents of those with special needs, all in praise of God.

The NSA played a crucial role in supporting ASNA’s cause by organising a successful auction and reaching out to the Missionary Impact Agency (MIA) to fundraise for ASNA. This dedication earned them recognition as star fundraisers of the year.

The event, held in Salisbury Hall featured inspirational performances by the Reading Community Gospel Choir and Reading West Praise team, Croydon Church Ladies’ Group SORA and many more gospel artists, further enriching the offering of musical diversity and community engagement. Patrick Johnson, Ministerial and Discipleship Director for the Trans-European Division reflected on the occasion:

The ASNA concert was a great showcase for inclusivity.  They provide a space where people of all abilities can participate in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement.  It was a delightful celebration of all talents and an example of seeing possibilities in each person rather than limitations.  I was proud of the Newbold Student Association for their fundraising efforts which was suitably recognised through the award they received.  I hope more people will be inspired by their example.”  – Patrick Johnson

The timing of the award ceremony, just ahead of the International Day of People with Disabilities, added significance to the recognition. ASNA’s mission aligns with the broader goal of raising awareness and celebrating the unity of humanity, accenting our shared creation in the image of God.

Nicholls, attending the award concert, described a vibrant and familial atmosphere filled with joy and awe-inspiring moments. The diversity of the programme, coupled with excellent presentations, left a lasting impression. She commended the inclusive ministry group from the Church of God in Christ, which has blossomed into its own ministry.

In December, ASNA extended its reach by participating in Purple Sock Day, a national initiative further highlighting awareness.

Collective efforts like this serve as an important reminder that, despite our differences, we are all shaped in God’s likeness, designed to live in community of equality and celebration.