News

Day for Life Bishop presents final round of awards to support groups helping people with disabilities and learning difficulties

15/10/2007

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16 October 2007

The Right Reverend Bernard Longley, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, welcomed disability groups to a Day for Life cheque presentation at Archbishop’s House on Friday 12 October 2007.

Last year’s Day for Life – the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness of the value of life from conception to natural death - celebrated the life and contribution of disabled people in the Church and in society today. A number of disability groups and organisations received funding from the Day for Life collection.

On Friday, Arundel and Brighton Diocese received a cheque for £6000 to help people with learning difficulties access the life of the Church. The money will be used to produce a new resource highlighting the value of inclusive prayer in liturgical celebrations.

“Day for Life is not all about the start and end of life,“ said John McManus from the Arundel and Brighton Diocese. “It is about people living their lives; discerning and sharing their gifts, no matter what their learning difficulty or disability. The money received from Day for Life will be used by our inclusive prayer group to raise awareness of the need for the full participation of all “.

St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Hendon which offers courses, events and support to help children and adults with learning difficulties connect their experience to the spiritual, received a cheque for £6500 to help students ‘explore the resources’ in their local community and begin to make independent decisions for themselves.

Healthy living teacher at the Centre, Sylvia Mutale-Edwards said: “We often talk about giving choices, but so often this isn’t the case. This project is a blessing from God as it will give the students that choice. It will build confidence and allow them to make decisions for themselves “.

Cristina Gangemi, Southwark Disability Advisor, has played an instrumental role in devising and creating a national resource for schools and parishes which will promote awareness of the theology of disability and help build inclusion into both school and parish life. This resource is being funded by Day for Life.

At the presentation, St John Fisher pupil Thomas Burron, spoke about a recent activity day which will be featured in the forthcoming school resource: “We had to put ourselves in the position of someone who was blind, deaf, in a wheelchair or had learning difficulties, and we learned how to cope with these disabilities,“ he said. “[When] we were learning about deaf people we had to sit opposite someone and act out names and sentences to let the other person understand. We had to make it as simple as possible. If we were blind then we had to put a blindfold on and turn round 10 times. Our classmates had to describe things to you so you could understand “.

Cristina Gangemi added: “We were mainly looking for a way to turn disability from a negative concept in people’s minds to a positive life-giving one“.

The Bishop for Day for Life, the Right Reverend Bernard Longley thanked everyone for taking part in the presentation and expressed his delight in being able to pass on the support received from the Catholic community through the Day for Life collection to such worthy disability projects and organisations.

ENDS

For further information and photos from the presentation, please contact the CCN, t. 020 7901 4800 e. ccn@cbcew.org.uk w. www.dayforlife.org

Notes to Editors

Last year’s Day for Life – the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness of the value of life from conception to natural death - celebrated the life and contribution of disabled people in the Church and in society today. A number of disability groups and organisations received funding from the Day for Life collection.

Funding from Day for Life 2006

1. Resources for schools / parishes to provide disability awareness education / catechesis programmes.
This programme builds upon www.dayforlife.org.
£20,000 in total

For schools - A programme of disability awareness and faith formation based on Art in the Curriculum - £10,000

For parishes - The production of an interactive DVD for catechists preparing those with disabilities for the Sacraments. Given the shortage of disability advisors it will be an invaluable catechetical resource for parishes. The DVD will be produced in such a way that it can be used without an advisor. It will allow parishes to become independent in preparing someone with a disability for full integration into parish life.” - £10,000.

2. Arundel and Brighton Diocese

Funding for the professional production of a DVD featuring and teaching inclusive prayer during liturgical celebrations with people with learning difficulties and presented by the Hand-in-Hand group (A&B Diocese).
£6,000

3. St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre

‘Exploring the Resources’

To facilitate the exploration of the resources in the local area by the Centre’s students - in so doing assist them to develop their capacity for choice, community participation, communication and relationship building. All of these underpin St Joseph’s respect for the dignity and value of the individual.
£6,500

4. Plymouth Diocese

Funding for a diocesan residential retreat for adults with Learning Difficulties.
£1,400

5. Cardiff Archdiocese – Welsh Catholic Deaf Association
£3,000

6. Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice
£23,815.35

7. Dioceses in England and Wales – Funding towards work in the area of disability
£1,000 per diocese (minus those who have already received funding for other areas of their disability work)
£18,000

£8,500