A NEW church worker is on a mission to reach out to the community and restore and encourage connections and involvement with the church.

Michelle Dearlove, 51, has been appointed as the first family worker for the churches of Bedale. She will be working with children, families and individuals.

Working with Mission, the stuffed-toy puppy, Michelle will be going out into the community, encouraging people to use the church as a place of safety and peace and care. She is already working with Bedale primary school where youngsters have built a spiritual garden, and with a local nursery.

“There are no expectations, we just want people to come and be here,” she said.

“There are so many pressures for people in life, and I think there is a certain fear about coming into the church, but we really want to give people access and say come and just be here.”