Priority A - Communication and Partnership
People with disabilities, families/carers and other agencies have a wealth of knowledge. They would value sharing it with the Welsh Government, churches, and other community bodies in order to form partnerships for collaboration.
- Develop a national strategy for celebrating good practice and sharing stories of partnership between statutory and third sector is desirable.
- Make resources available for new initiatives.
Priority B - Advocacy
People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable because they and their families do not always know their legal rights nor are in touch with agencies that can help them.
All organisations and agencies, including the faith communities, should be provided with training to equip them to provide information about rights and services and be given the ability to signpost disabled people to local services.
Priority C - Empowerment
People with disabilities want to be enabled towards greater independence.
This will only come through communities understanding needs through awareness raising, quality support and local initiatives.
Priority D - Inclusion
People with disabilities want to be fully included in communities, at local and national levels. The Christian faith community provides a good role model of participation and service to the community. Although 70% of churches in Wales provide disabled access, and 40% provide a hearing loop system, there is a way to go to encourage total accessibility.
- Enable the Christian faith community to have an opportunity to share cases of good practice nationally and at a local level through websites, social media and other vehicles of communication.
- Support for Christian churches to access and successfully apply for grants that will assist churches to provide accessible facilities to people with learning disabilities, mental health challenges, sensory impairments and mobility problems.
Any theology of disability must begin at the beginning - human beings, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and therefore ascribed dignity and value, quite separate from their actions or achievements. Throughout the Bible we discern a pattern of righteousness and social justice (Proverbs 31:9) and learn about the God who defends the weak and a Saviour who treats disabled people with love and respect (Mark 1:41-42). We stand in the tradition of those Christians who have pioneered in the provision of care for disabled people – Andrew Reed, John Grooms, Lord Shaftesbury, to name but a few. The Christian church and Christian voluntary organisations form part of today’s third sector and therefore are a national and local resource.