New toddler group launched at Norwich church
Little lions are the prowl at St Mark’s Lakenham, a new initiative for families set up by the church in partnership with the local Mother's Union branch.
A new toddler group hosted by a partnership between St Mark’s Church, Lakenham and its local Mothers Union branch has started this summer. Little Lions runs every Wednesday morning from 9.15 – 11.15am. Finding there was no provision for parents and pre-schoolers in the neighbourhood on a Wednesday morning, Reverend Melanie Hider (OLM and Mothers’ Union branch leader) decided to plug the gap.
“As a mother and now grandmother, I know how isolating it can be when you are at home with very young children. We want to encourage parents to come and meet one another and have been handing out leaflets and working with local health visitors to advertise these sessions. The sessions are free and we’re committed to being here every week.”
The Little Lions name suggestion came from the symbolism of St Mark the evangelist as a winged lion. In a vision of the Prophet Ezekiel, four winged creatures represent the four evangelists (Ezekiel 1:10): Mark as a lion.
Unusually, Little Lions will also run during the school holidays. Each session starts with an open play time in a small room off the main church area. Then it’s up to the choir area for story time and playing instruments along to songs. This is followed by a crafty activity at tables down the other end of the church and refreshments served for all. Then it’s another open play session using some bigger equipment, all around the church.
“I really like the flexibility of just being able to drop-in – not having to book or be here by a certain time,” says local mum, Emma Hales. “It takes the pressure off getting out the door by a certain time. Harrison loves it here and we get to meet some new faces. One of the helpers built a house with him out of the kneelers which he loved and now he asks if ‘his lady’ is coming to play this week!”
Melanie concludes: “We are delighted that already over a dozen parents have found their way through our doors, and we’re looking forward to welcoming many more!”