Making The Blessing accessible with Makaton

Written by: Rachel Donne-Davis

You don’t have to look very hard on social media before you find a version (or five) of ‘The Blessing’ so why create another version? Understand the story behind the Makaton Blessing and its incredible heart for an accessible church... 

Why

We were all incredibly encouraged by The UK Blessing Video. It felt so timely and it was clear that it resonated with many. However, we felt that there were some people who might struggle to engage with the video beyond the music and felt provoked to make a more accessible version of the song.

What

Makaton is a unique language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It is used by over 100,000 children and adults in the UK so was an obvious choice when looking to create a more accessible version of The Blessing.

With that, a lot of enthusiasm and some late night conversations, the idea of the Makaton UK Blessing was born. We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response when we asked for people to take part and were sent over 200 wonderful contributions.

When the Makaton UK Blessing was launched we were thrilled to see the number of views rocketing and so far it has reached over 45,000 people. We have had some lovely feedback from people full of joy and encouraged by the video.

Our hope is as well as being an encourage that all of this will promote a further conversation about accessibility in church life.

Who

Signers from around the UK – We had over 200 contributions from individuals, groups and families. These were from people who use Makaton regularly as part of their day to day life and also some who had learnt it as a lockdown project:

- Becky George – Makaton Tutor, Initiated the project and filmed a wonderful template video which people could use to base their own signing on.

- Em Williams – Editor extraordinaire, who had the huge task of editing together 200 different videos.

- Rachel Donne-Davis (me) – Promotion. I had the wonderful task of telling lots of people about this brilliant project.

- Coventry Church Collective – Who were super kind and let us use their recording of ‘The Blessing’

Where

The Makaton UK Blessing was launched on Becky George’s YouTube Channel and can be viewed by clicking the link.

Watch, share #makatonukblessing, be encouraged, experience the joy.