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04.06.2021

Launch of ‘A Welcoming Church’ – A resource for churches to better support people with disabilities

 Launch of ‘A Welcoming Church’ – A resource for churches to better support people with disabilities

The Church of Ireland Youth Department, in collaboration with Dublin and Glendalough Youth Officer Susie Keegan and the Disability Advisor with the Diocese of Leeds, Katherine–Alice Grasham, has produced a new resource pack – entitled A Welcoming Church – to help churches think about how they might better support people with different disabilities in the church environment.  Clergy, staff and volunteers are encouraged to visit www.awelcomingchurch.com and find out more.

Susie Keegan says: “Collaborating on this resource was a huge privilege and there was a huge amount of learning for me in it.  When researching and designing, I had to ensure that it was and is accessible.  We need to create and design with accessibility as a priority rather than an afterthought.”

Katherine–Alice Grasham remarks: “We’re really hoping that this new resource will be a way to start parishes thinking about small changes that they can do to make a big difference to disabled people.  This resource is not just a tick–box exercise; it’s designed to start conversations and get people thinking together about accessibility and welcome.”

The 14–page resource includes general tips on what to do to help welcome people with disabilities, and suggestions (also provided as A4 posters) for how a parish can be a welcoming church for people who may have one or more of the following particular disabilities:

·         dyslexia;

·         hearing impairment or deafness;

·         visual impairment or blindness;

·         autism, neurodiversity and cognitive disorders;

·         mobility difficulties or who are using a wheelchair;

·         anxiety and mental illness;

·         dementia;

·         asthma and allergies; and

·         chronic pain or illness.

The resource was made by disabled people in consultation with disabled people, and was born out of discussions at disability awareness training between children’s and youth officers who have a passion for disability inclusion within the Church.

Readers who wish to raise an issue, suggest an alternation or addition, or flag up something, are encouraged to email the team at awelcomingchurch@gmail.com

 

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