As part of his commitment to supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged people, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury has taken on the role of President of national Christian disability charity Livability.
In his inaugural letter to the charity, the Archbishop writes that “disabled people have much to offer to our local communities, workplaces and to society in general” but that they “face real financial hardship and unacceptable barriers when trying to access education, training, housing, transport and the care they require.”
The Archbishop also writes that many disabled people “face hurtful and unnecessary stigma” and that “the routine portrayal of disabled people in some part of our media as ‘benefit scroungers’ can only result in more divided communities.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Livability share the belief that individuals, not just Government, are responsible for challenging the status quo and that we should all strive to become more inclusive.
The Archbishop also stated that churches should lead the way and ensure that “disabled people’s voices are heard and their wishes and opinions valued”.
Livability works in partnership with churches, including through its most recent initiative Churches Inc., which aims to alleviate social exclusion and enable disabled people to fully participate in a meaningful way in all aspects of church and community life. More information about Churches Inc. can be found here.
The Archbishop took on his new role on 7th November 2013 to coincide with Livability’s Annual General Meeting and its annual Princess Royal Awards event attended by the charity’s Patron HRH the Princess Royal.
Dave Webber, Livability Chief Executive said: “’We are delighted to welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury as Livability’s new President. Disabled people are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our society. Having the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury will help us raise awareness of disability issues and help us support disabled people, and their families and carers, all over the UK and overseas.”
The Archbishop’s presidency will help to continue the close and historic relationship between the Church of England and Livability. The charity was created in 2007 from the merger of two older Christian charities, John Grooms and the Shaftesbury Society. The previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was Livability’s Vice-President.