The Synod supports the mission and ministry of our local churches.
Who We Are
Who's who at URC Thames North Synod?
A list of committees at URC Thames North Synod.
Find out about the structure of the United Reformed Church.
There are approximately 1500 local United Reformed Churches Across England, Scotland and Wales.
Thames North Trust
Find out about the Thames North Trust.
What We Do
How we undertake a range of functions to support our local churches.
Discipleship Steering Group
The DSG at the forefront of our commitment to whole life discipleship.
Children & Youth
News on our children's and youth work and activities.
Support for those working with children, young people and adults at risk of harm.
Church & Society Network
The Church & Society Network explores various church and society issues.
Work With Us
Current job vacancies within the Thames North Synod and our partner organisations.
Find a Local Church
Directory of our local churches within the Thames North Synod.
Weekly e-newsletters from the Synod.
Thames North Synod gathers for full Synod meetings 2-3 times a year.
Information and documents relating to Church Premises.
Health & Safety
Health & Safety Policy for the United Reformed Church Thames North Synod.
Additional resources & downloads.
The Equality Act is designed to bring together different pieces of legislation relating to the discrimination of people’s age, race, disability, sexuality etc. This guidance booklet deals with the requirements of the Act for people with disabilities and the legal duty placed upon service providers (including churches) to be inclusive and to ensure that our buildings are accessible to disabled people.
As service providers, churches must comply with the Act:
Responsibility to comply
The Equality Act is built upon the Disability Discrimination Acts of 1995 and 2005, and from the 1st October 2010 service providers have had to take reasonable steps to change their practice, particularly if that practice means that a disabled person is unable to make use of its services. This means that church trustees (elders) have a duty to provide auxiliary aids so that people with disabilities can take part in the ‘service’ to the same degree as everyone else.
The whole emphasis of the Equality Act is to ensure that disabled people are treated with equality according to their needs. Your church is more likely to comply with the Act if:
In all cases, it is essential to make sure that the dignity of a disabled person is respected when churches make any sort of service provision. Disabled people are entitled to be asked about how they might be best served and given opportunity to make the same choices as all of us.
An access appraisal should be carried out to ensure that you have taken into account the needs of people with disabilities. The appraisal will include consideration of:
These will all form your Access Plan and should lead you to consider changes that may be required to your practice, policy or procedures. You should not wait until a disabled person turns up and then make necessary arrangements to include them.
The Access Plan will often mean changes to the built environment and further information can be found within Part M of the Building Regulations and BS8300. Building regulations or planning approval may be required to adapt your buildings, together with the approval of the Resources Committee.
Becoming a church that is compliant with the Equality Act can be expensive, but lack of funds does not mean you should not be thinking about and planning for compliance. Your Access Plan will identify all the areas where you will need to make reasonable changes and these should be prioritised within a phased approach.
Not everything will be expensive and some measures can be implemented immediately, such as greeting people, providing large print copies of any papers or books.
There are a number of organizations that provide help and guidance for churches seeking to comply with the Equality Act 2010:
Through The Roof is a Christian Charity working in partnership with churches and other organisations to promote access and inclusion of disabled people in every area of church life. www.throughtheroof.org.
The Equality Act 2010 – more information on the Equality Act can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-guidance
Part M of the Building Regulations can be downloaded from https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200135/approved_documents
Equality & Human Rights Commission – For further in-depth information about the Equalities Act see: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/getting-help-and-advice
A large print version of this document is available upon request. Contact Synod Office: 020 7799 5000
Equality Act 2010 2017 .pdf file | 591 KB