Children's and Youth Development Officer
Nicola has been working with children and young people for over 18 years both as a volunteer and an employed Church Worker. Nicola has a BA Hons in Children and Family work and Practical Theology. Nicola is passionate about all aspects of working with children and young people, especially connecting them with God.
She has been regional coordinator for Messy Church in Cambridgeshire a leader of residential and holiday clubs and continues to be involved in schools work as a volunteer. Nicola works ecumenically across the Synod with a number of groups including TrainUp and GenR8, working together to provide training opportunities.
In her role as CYDO Nicola is involved in the following areas of work:
- Training – organising and delivering a range of training for all those involved in youth & children's work, including volunteer youth & children's leaders, young leaders, safeguarding officers, employed workers, elders, and ministers.
- Advice & Consultancy - contact Nicola to discuss issues about your church's work amongst children & young people including: questions about good practice; advice on suitable resources; thinking about different approaches; etc.
- Child Friendly Church Award – encouraging and enabling churches through the Child Friendly Church Award process.
- Employment of workers - helping churches with the process of employing a youth/children's/family worker (from considering the possibility right through to appointing and then supporting the worker).
- Events for children & young people in the Synod- encouraging supporting and enabling others to organise events for children & young people in the Synod.
- Working alongside others to promote participation of children & young people at all levels: in local churches, in the Synod, and at Assembly level. e.g. Holiday Clubs, Messy Church etc.
- Working alongside the Regional Pilots Officer and the Children's & Youth Work Department to promote the development of Pilots.
- Offering guidance and support on issues of child protection and safeguarding in the local churches and the wider councils of the church.
Please contact Nicola if you would like any more information and help with the above or to discuss your requirements.
Margaret Smith Children's and Youth Advocate
I have been a member of the United Reformed Church since a teenager (then the Congregational Church) and have worked with children and young people throughout that time in Junior Church, holiday clubs, youth groups Messy Church and Pilots.
I am an Elder of Dovercourt Central Church and currently Church Secretary.
Through my career within Education Attendance I trained as a Social Worker, although have never worked within social care services. I have recently retired from full time employment and I am looking to involve myself in working with children and young people in this role.
The role of Children's and Youth Advocate:
The Eastern Synod Children's and Youth Work Advocate will be appointed by the Synod Meeting to work with the Synod's Children and Youth Development Officer (CYDO).
The Advocate's role includes:
• Exploring best ways to be in contact with church children's and youth workers across the Synod
• Working with the CYDO to access support requirements and the best way to offer that support and the training
• Cascading information to children's and youth workers, and to children, young people and others as necessary
• Promoting and supporting Synod children's and youth 'events'
• Advocating the importance of children and young people and of children's, youth and family work within the
• Sharing good news stories across the Synod
• Promoting the National and Synod Child Friendly Church Award.