Training in Malawi

Training in Malawi

Training in Malawi

By TTR Trustee, John Naudé

In the summer Belinda, Samuel and I (and another couple from church) went to Malawi with a missionary organisation called Emmanuel International for the first time.  Belinda and I led the training on leadership and discipleship to church elders.  Being a wheelchair user AND a pastor of a church is something that the people in Malawi certainly didn't seem used to, however they were very receptive to what we had to teach. It seemed the 'status' of being a pastor far outweighed any negative messages of being disabled. Wherever we went I was followed by children who seemed fascinated by my lightweight wheelchair.

The issue of disability in Malawi is something that is hidden. The number of people I saw with a visual disability was very few. I think I saw 3 people in wheelchairs in the 3 weeks we were there.  I perceived that disabled people are generally kept at home and not seen as people with something to contribute to society. Malawi’s physical environment is not very suitable for wheelchair users and although I managed to access all venues - it was only through the help of friends and a bit of creative thinking that we managed to access everywhere. At one point there was a large gulley with a plank of wood across it for people to walk across. They found some extra wood and managed to tie various bits of wood together for me to push across. It wasn't a 'safe' bridge across with level and very stable bits of wood, but they had gone to great effort to enable me to cross. Thankfully, with my own wheelchair skills and a fair few prayers quickly offered up, I managed to cross it several times a day.
I had been mentally prepared for the changes to my usual routine and wheelchair-friendly environment but by the end of the three weeks I was physically very tired.

The most memorable part of the trip was seeing God's faithfulness in the protection and provision for our family and seeing Him at work in the lives of the people. The country was also a lot greener than I had imagined, but like most places the thing that sticks out is not the scenery but the people. They were a wonderfully generous and hospitable people.

The most difficult element of my time there was pushing my wheelchair on soft sandy terrain, to then have the hard uneven terrain. That was the tiring part of the trip. However, God really blessed us as a family and as a church by seeing Him at work and in the privilege of serving Him in a country with so little in material goods, but rich in faith and hospitality.

Many years ago when I first became a Christian, I had heard of people becoming missionaries but had ruled this out for me - because I use a wheelchair. I was challenged through this trip to discover that if God is calling us to serve Him, then wherever He chooses to ask us to serve is up to Him, and not me with whatever perceptions I may have to limit Him. He is the one who calls, He is the one who equips - He just needs us to say "speak Lord, your servant is listening". Are we prepared to go, where He wants?

About John

John is a wheelchair user and an ordained Anglican Minister, leading the Church of the Good Shepherd in Waterlooville near Portsmouth. He is also Chair of Churches For All, a consortium of disability ministries, and he is also a Board member of Through the Roof. He is married to Belinda and has a six year old son called Samuel. When time permits, he plays wheelchair basketball and enjoys oil painting.

How to Fundraise


The Ashtead Fundraising Team  have been extremely successful in raising thousands of pounds over the years for TTR's Wheels for the World programme. In this article you can read their advice and suggestions for holding your own TTR fundraising events:


*Pray for inspiration!

*Hold a coffee morning - Invite a few friends for coffee and show a Through the Roof/Wheels for the World DVD. Sell some home-made items to raise a bit of money. Have a supply of literature from Through the Roof to hand out.
*Start an address list of those you have invited.
*Add names and addresses and telephone numbers to the address list of anyone who shows interest in the charity.
*Ask if supporters would like to receive Vital Link and pass full contact details to TTR.
*Keep a supply of Through the Roof leaflets in your bag/car at all times to give to anyone who may be interested.
*Encourage those you have invited to coffee to hold their own coffee morning.


*Friends and family – ask them to support you practically (it is good to have a strong team of supporters to share the workload). Encourage lots of different skills. Ask a group of friends to pray.
*Local Church – ask if your church would consider supporting TTR financially and/or invite a speaker to a service. Give them a DVD.
*Local Schools – ask if they would consider supporting TTR as their charity (many schools support a charity and will consider a fundraising event). Give them a DVD.
*Local Shops – ask them if they would advertise any events you may have or donate prizes for raffles.
*Local Groups (eg. Scouts, Guides, Women’s and Men’s Groups). Many groups raise money for charities. (Give them a DVD).


*Stalls at charity events (Summer Fetes and Christmas Fairs, Craft Fairs, Car Boot sales). Collect good quality items for sale throughout the year. Advertise for goods in church news-sheets, local shops, local newspapers. Give out TTR leaflets at events. Display posters etc. available from TTR.
*Write to local attractions around your area to ask for ticket donations to raffle at events, eg. Children’s Farms, Theatres, Leisure centres, Theme Parks, Restaurants, Gardens. (It is best to write at the beginning of the year as each organisation only has a certain number of free tickets). Send them a leaflet about the organisation. Remember to always include a stamped addressed envelope.
*Curry Nights/Charity week. Approach local cafe/restaurants to ask if they would consider having a charity week/evening. Some restaurants are willing to hire their premises for charity events and will agree to give a percentage of their takings.
*Talent evening. Approach local bands/orchestras etc to ask whether they would consider doing a charity event. It helps if you know someone in the band/orchestra! This could include a meal, raffle etc to increase the donations.
*Save £1 a day for the 40 days of Lent. Encourage people you know to save a £1 a day for a period of time, to sponsor a wheelchair. You can download a collecting box here.
*Theatre discounts. Some Theatres have a discount scheme for charities where you get a group of people together to see a show and part of the money for the ticket will go to the charity. It’s a great evening out and raises money at the same time.
*Make and sell your own cards. If you are ‘crafty’ or good at photography, you can make your own cards to sell to friends and at craft fairs etc. Stick a label on the back which explains that all the proceeds will go to TTR. You can design your own labels, or order them from a label company.
*Encourage people not to give you presents on birthdays, weddings etc but give donations to TTR instead.
*If you receive supermarket Vouchers, use them to buy raffle prizes for events.
*Sell things online. One person's trash can be another person’s treasure!
Send out a letter to your supporters twice a year, thanking them for on-going support and informing them of events and up-to-date information.


*Use every opportunity to promote TTR
*Take photos at every event
*Contact local press for upcoming events and ask for a photographer to attend
*Write articles for church magazines and websites
*Keep church and clubs up-to-date with latest information
*Keep supporters updated with information
*Write to thank everyone involved after an event


*Choose a particular project (e.g. raise £1,000 for DCF Holiday)
*Set targets (eg. raise money by a particular date)
*Keep address list updated
*Keep supporters updated
*Think of new ideas
*Keep a list of all money raised
*Wear TTR/Wheels T-shirts at every event
*Use every opportunity to promote TTR



Everyone has a skill or skills that are vital for fundraising. Here are some ideas:

*Prayer – You could pray on your own or with a group, for inspiration, for practicalities, for generosity, for the right people to come forward to help etc. etc.. It is also great to know that people are praying whilst a fundraising event is taking place.
*Encouragement – It helps to spur people on in the activities.
*Generosity – You may be unable to practically fundraise, but are in a position to give money. This could be as a donation, or generosity in not claiming for any expenses that may be incurred in running an event.
*Time – You may be in a position to give your time to fundraise.
*Hospitality – You could offer your house as a venue for an event.
*Catering – Providing food for an event.
*Photography – It is great to have photos of each event. You don’t have to be a professional, but it is best to take digital photos so that they can be sent to TTR and newspapers etc. via email.
*Computing skills – It is great to be able to produce good quality flyers and posters for events. It is also good to be able to keep up-to-date address lists and be able to produce PowerPoint presentations to show at events.
*Treasurer – It is good to have someone who can keep records of the finances.
*Speaking – If you are a person who enjoys speaking and is enthusiastic and passionate about TTR/Wheels for the World it makes a real difference to an event.
*Writing – It is good to write articles for magazines, newspapers etc.
*Administration – Writing and sending letters to supporters, possible sources of fundraising and TTR, keeping records etc.

*Hands on practicality:

-Helping on stall at a fair or coffee morning
-Pricing up goods for sale
-Collecting goods for sale and storing them
-Setting up for events (fetching and carrying)
-Counting proceeds after event
-Washing up after a charity lunch/supper

    Karen Goodridge
    January 2009

Fundraising Event Case Study

Organising a Fundraising Event

Case study of a successful fundraising event by Karen Goodridge

‘Safari Supper’

Before the event

  • Pray.
  • Get a team together to take on the tasks. (Don’t do everything yourself!)
  • Decide what the event is raising money for (eg. To pay towards a Wheels trip or a DCF Holiday).
  • Decide on a date.
  • Ask 2 or 3 friends to host, one for main course, one for dessert and one for coffee. You may, of course be one of the hosts! The idea is to have three courses at three separate venues and travel to each of them.
  • Decide on a speaker (either contact TTR to ask for a speaker, or someone you know who has either been on a Wheels Trip or DCF Holiday or Integr8 Project).
  • Decide how many people you would like to invite. (Work out your break-even point).
  • Decide on a menu.  (It could be themed eg. Indian or Chinese or individual hosts could make their own choices)
  • Decide on who will provide the food (it does not necessarily have to be the same person who is hosting).
  • Decide on the cost of the ticket.  (Some hosts/meal providers may wish to claim for their expenses incurred, so you will need to take this into consideration when deciding on the cost of ticket).
  • Design and produce invitations and flyers/posters with details of when and where.  Make them colourful.  You may wish to invite specific people, or open it up to anyone. (see example)
  • If you decide to open the evening up to anyone, advertise in your local church magazine, or other organisations you are involved in (eg. Schools, Women’s or Men’s groups). 
  • Add an RSVP date to the invitation or flyer with contact details.
  • If the venues are far apart, you may wish to provide transport for those who don’t have their own.
  • Design and produce numbered tickets.  You may wish to have one point of contact or more.  If more, give an equal number of tickets to each.
  • Send out invitations (by hand if possible to save on postage)
  • Keep a list of replies.
  • Collect raffle prizes (6 or more good quality items eg.  box of chocolates, toiletry set, stationery set, bottle of wine).  Buy a book of raffle tickets.
  • You could visit local shops with a leaflet of the charity asking them whether they would consider donating a prize.  Explain what you are doing and when the event is taking place etc.  A local greengrocers may agree to give you a fruit basket, or a local wine shop may give you a bottle!  Ask to put up a poster, if the event is advertised wider.
  • You could write to local attractions, again explaining about the event, enclose a leaflet and a stamped addressed envelope, asking for a ticket donation for your raffle.
  • Remember to write and thank anyone who gives you a donation.
  • Contact the local newspaper about your event.  They may send a photographer.
  • Ask your local church/group if they would advertise your event before the service/meeting.
  • Ask TTR for up-to-date literature to display at the event together with a donation box.  Give a supply of leaflets to each host.
  • Ask TTR for the latest dvd to show at the event.
  • You may wish to borrow a display board from TTR or you could make your own pin-board with leaflets, photos etc.
  • Decide at which venue you will show the dvd and have the talk (probably at the last house).
  • Ask your speaker if they have any photos to display.
  • Make sure each host has enough crockery, cutlery, glasses, chairs etc.
  • Ask someone to be in charge of selling the raffle tickets on the evening.  Decide on how much you will charge for tickets (ie. £1 per strip)
  • Provide a box to collect raffle tickets.
  • Design and print a menu.  (see example)

On the day of the event

  • Contact all your hosts to make sure all is well.
  • Make sure the dvd is working!
  • Set up the display and literature.
  • Display the raffle prizes.
  • Appoint someone to serve drinks.
  • Appoint people to wash up.

At the Event

  • Welcome guests as they arrive.
  • Serve drinks.
  • When everyone has arrived say a brief ‘welcome’ and explain how the evening will work.
  • Start selling raffle tickets once everyone has settled in. (Remember to take raffle tickets to each venue and raffle prizes to last venue).
  • Enjoy the meal together!
  • When about to leave for the second venue, telephone the host to let them know you are on your way.
  • Enjoy the Dessert
  • Take photos.
  • Move to the final venue.
  • While serving coffee, show the DVD.
  • Introduce speaker and thank everyone for coming.
  • Listen to the talk.
  • Thank the speaker.
  • Draw the raffle.
  • Ask people to write their names and addresses if they would like to be added to the supporters list.
  • Encourage others to consider holding their own event – offer them a dvd if they would like one.
  • Leave the donations box near the door as everyone leaves.
  • Encourage people to Gift Aid any donations. (Gift Aid forms available from TTR)

After the Event

  • Count proceeds.
  • Pay any expenses.
  • Write to thank people who helped in any way
  • Write to thank those who made specific donations.
  • Send proceeds to TTR – if you are able, it is best to bank the cash and write a cheque to TTR.  Explain in letter what the event was and what the money was being raised for.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence.
  • Add any names and addresses to the supporters list.
  • Document the financial transactions.
  • Write an article about the event for local paper/church magazine/website etc. and include photos

Removing Barriers

A well-known Bible story told by Jesus is the parable of the Great Banquet, where we are encouraged to:

‘… go out into the highways and byways and bring in the poor, (sic) the crippled, the blind and the lame…so that my house will be full’.  (Luke 14)

God’s house will never be complete without disabled people, but how can churches ensure they are able to welcome and fully include disabled people?

Removing Barriers is Through the Roof’s self-assessment resource for churches, organisations and groups to check against a comprehensive set of measures to see how inclusive their services, activities and programmes are for disabled people.

The Removing Barriers resource is in the form of a questionnaire organised around four types of barrier that can restrict the full involvement of disabled people – Attitudes, Organisation, Information and Physical Access – and helps guide churches through a step-by-step checklist.  In using the resource churches are also directed to other appropriate information and resources which will help them to address any areas which need some input.

Removing barriers to disabled people is an on-going process,  so don’t expect to change everything overnight.  However, it is important to make a start or to continue on the journey.

The Removing Barriers resource is in the form of a questionnaire organised around five main sections.

  • The Message You Give
  • Having a Culture of Disability Inclusion
  • Arrival and Welcome
  • Enabling Everyone to Take Part
  • Belonging, Discipleship and Growth


Removing Barriers is available to download for £5 from our online shop, or for free to any Roofbreaker.

Events for All

How to make your major conference, church event, or Bible week inclusive of disabled people

So often we hear complaints about poor provision for disabled people at major Christian events. We hear from from people who are partially sighted, blind, hard-of-hearing, profoundly deaf, wheelchair users, learning disabled and for those with disabled children who found the events were not working for them because of practical access difficulties and insensitive attitudes. By working through this section of the website and implementing the recommendations, you will meet most needs and improve the experience for disabled people at your event.


Crossways Community Baptist Church

Dorking, Surrey

Having been convicted by the Lord of the need for a ministry designed to bring support to those individuals in the community with spiritual, mental, social or physical problems in July 2004, after much prayer, “Project 61” began.  This was an umbrella organisation, taking as its commission Isaiah 61: 1-3, and able to respond to needs as they arose.  As time has gone on it has become apparent this is so much a reflection of the church that we now consider this to be the community ministry of the church and are no longer calling it “Project 61”.  We have also rewritten our vision statement as follows:  Our Vision is to be an inclusive church that encourages all to grow into relationship with God and presents Jesus in a way that all people can understand and respond to.

At the moment there are five different groups within the ministry:

  1. Crossways Praise Club:  A monthly cell group for adults with learning disabilities.
  2. The Sunday Club:  A monthly social activities group for adults with learning disabilities.
  3. Top Tots:  A twice weekly toddlers group.
  4. The Women’s Friendship group:  A support group, for women finding life particularly difficult, which meets once a week.
  5. Time Out:  A once weekly coffee shop/drop in, open to all, with opportunity to talk, get prayer or counselling, or just read the paper and drink some of the best fair trade tea, coffee or hot chocolate in town - all for which there is no charge.

The church was built in 1876 with a variety of different floor levels and, consequently, was not built with disabilities in mind.  Because of this we have carried out a number of alterations to the building, putting in new, wider, exterior doors and ramps and changing floor levels, all of which has made the majority of the building accessible to all.  We also have an easy access toilet designed with wheelchair users in mind - this toilet has facilities to cover all toiletry needs including support rails, disposable gloves and disinfectant wipes.

Approximately three years ago we had our song book produced in Braille.   Although at present we don’t have anyone in the church that has a need for this,  should there be a need at any time it is there and will be kept up to date with any changes to the song book in the future.

Whilst we use a video projector in church during worship and presentations in sermons, were we to have someone with sight problems we have a policy in place to have someone sit alongside and quietly describe what is going on.  We  held a training day for the church to learn Makaton signing (used by some people with learning disabilities, as well as some children)  to give an overview of signing for the church in general, whilst one of our members is more fully trained in Makaton and signs at our regular monthly inclusive services as well as other services when possible.

Members of our Learning Disabilities Team have been to other local churches to help lead their disabilities celebrations and in June ‘09 we hosted the first of a series of quarterly celebrations for learning disabilities groups from across Surrey, lead by our team.

Our Services normally include; large print projection, iInduction loop amplification, easy read Bible and New Testaments, appropriate teaching materials and access to appropriate seating; on occasions we have Makaton signing as well. The church is blessed because everyone taking part receives back far, far more than they give and all have grown in faith as a result. We will continue to adjust and adapt as needs arise.

Happy Birthday DCF

Disabled Christians Fellowship formed in 1959, when Frances Poole started a group in Bristol. DCF has kept growing, with groups around the country, accessible holidays, tape and CD ministry and support through prayer and friendship for disabled people and those affected by disability. This year, DCF reaches its Golden Anniversary, and as part of the celebrations for this great big number we’ll be holding two events.

Coming soon: DCF 50th Anniversary Celebration!

Sat 12th Sept 09, Burton Town Hall, Burton Upon Trent, Staffs, DE14 2EB

If you would like to join us in celebrating 50 yrs with DCF, please contact Jenny or Margaret to register for a place. A buffet lunch will be provided for members of DCF at 12.30, and the service of celebration with speaker Jennifer Rees-Larcombe will begin at 2pm. This event is open to all and the afternoon will conclude with tea and cake at 3.30pm.

To find out more, or to register to attend, pleasefollow this link to email Margaret at Through the Roof.

The first was held on June 6th with speaker Max Sinclair at the King’s Church, Epsom. Max Sinclair was paralysed in a car accident but made a substantial recovery and walked out of Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Max and his wife Sue are in demand at seminars and conferences, speaking on such issues as marriage and family life. They also teach the bible and share their experiences of handling life’s crises. They have three grown-up children and five grandchildren. Max is an author of four books, including ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

DCF - A brief history

Disabled Christians Fellowship was formed in 1959, when Frances Poole, a woman of vision, started the first group in Bristol following her involvement with friends who had a disability. In the following years others have caught the vision and the work has grown from the one group to around twenty groups in Great Britain, with a lively holiday programme, a popular CD ministry & regular prayer support.


The original vision to be a conduit through which those with a disability might get to know the love of Jesus Christ continues to this day. Through group fellowship, accessible holidays and the tape ministry we offer both practical and spiritual help to all who need to know there can be a future and a hope. In 1994, the vision of Bristol supporters for a local Day Centre came to fruition. The Day Centre still thrives, now being a separate trust known as DCF Premier Workshop.


DCF is now part of Through the Roof, and the main office is based in Morden, Surrey, though the contact with Bristol is still maintained through members of local groups. DCF has been changing the lives of disabled Christians through the support and fellowship it provides for people with a disability for over fifty years. People continue to come to faith and trust in Christ through the ministry and by knowing the love and care of other Christians.


Disabled Christians Fellowship operates local groups and accessible holidays in UK and overseas. The aim of each of these is to introduce those with a disability to the love of Jesus, and for those who are already believers to strengthen their faith and aid them to grow in their walk with God.