Disability Matters

 

 Inspired North East

Click here to download
'The Open Door' self-audit access questionnaire and more

The Open Door -
Towards Accessibility
and Inclusion

Practical advice on making our churches more accessible and inclusive

Accessible churches are churches that can be enjoyed by everyone – regular worshippers, people attending events and visitors of all kinds - including those with disabilities or other access needs.

About a fifth of the population have access needs, including people with hearing and visual impairments, wheelchair users, older and less mobile people, young families with pushchairs, etc. This is too large a community for churches to overlook!

New resources now available

It is thus timely that the idea of “Access to Inclusion” has been the subject of collaboration between Newcastle Diocese’s Disability Task Group, Tourism Task Group, and Inspired North East.

A consultation paper has been produced, 'The Open Door' self-audit access questionnaire has been developed (see below), and a workshop on the same 'Open Door' theme took place in Newcastle in April 2015 to introduce the questionnaire and the thinking behind it. This is now being piloted in a number of churches.

 

 

Implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 has been the main concern of the diocesan Disability Task Group.

Group members have been in touch with many other dioceses to discover what they have done, and what literature and learning tools they have produced.

Since 2004 churches and halls, along with all public buildings and organisations, have been required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make their buildings, activities and events accessible to everyone. 

The Disability group helps parishes and deaneries work out what this entails. There is no single blueprint for action; each PCC and Deanery Synod faces different challenges to ensure that everyone can be included in their life and worship.

The Disability Task Group wants to recruit more members! If you feel you could contribute something to the life of this Task Group we would love to hear from you. We meet four or five times a year. You may yourself be disabled in some way, and know at first hand some of the problems confronting disabled people in today’s Church. You may have some specialist experience or interest in the vast field that gets labelled ‘disability issues’.

Contact the Revd Canon Richard Hill: collis.rick@gmail.com.