The Archbishop of Canterbury has become president of Livability, the national disability charity which works with churches to work with thousands of disabled people in the UK and overseas.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s presidency will "help continue the close and historic relationship between the Church of England and Livability", says the national C of E press office.
Livability was formed after two older Christian charities, John Grooms and the Shaftesbury Society, merged in 2007.
In his inaugural letter to the charity, the Archbishop said that “disabled people have much to offer to our local communities, workplaces and to society in general” .
But, he added, they face “real financial hardship and unacceptable barriers when trying to access education, training, housing, transport and the care they require.”
The Archbishop and Livability share the belief that individuals, not just the government, are responsible for challenging the status quo, and that we should all strive to become more inclusive.
The Archbishop expressed a desire for churches to lead the way in this area and ensure that “disabled people’s voices are heard and their wishes and opinions valued”.
Livability’s work with churches includes its 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.
Dave Webber, chief executive of Livability, 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.”
* More information about Livability's work with churches can be found at: http://www.livability.org.uk/church
* WoW petition calling for a cumulative assessment of the impact of welfare reforms on sick and disabled people: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154