Minutes of the Quaker Disability Equality Group AGM 2014
held on Saturday 2nd May 12.30 – 13.30 in the Endsleigh Suite, Friends House, London.
1 Welcome and apologies
Liz Anderton (QDEG committee co-clerk) welcomed Friends from many areas of BYM to the AGM.
Harry Albright, Liz Anderton, Dawn Beck, Michael Booth, Pamela Brunt, Patricia Chandrasikera, Joy Croft, Hilary Davies, Sarah Early, Jackie Fowler, Jonathan Griffith, Laurence Hall, Alan Johnson, Chris Love, Beth Peacall, Bob Pickup, Gill Reid, Shelagh Robinson, Lisa Shendge, Rosemarie Teare, Eleanor Tew, Alethea Wigzell and Clare Wigzell.
(Apologies for any spelling mistakes or omissions. We are relying on the handwritten sheet that was passed round.)
Sam Barnett-Cormack, Margaret Boland, Judith Smith and Nuala Watt.
2 Annual report
The 2014 Annual Report was distributed before and during the AGM and read aloud today.
Sarah Early spoke about her experience of working with the QDEG committee.
Bob Pickup welcomed the correspondence on the e-mail network.
Pam Brunt presented the 2014 Accounts which had also been distributed before the AGM.
Income is lower than expenditure but we are financial secure at present. We hope this will enable us to respond to any invitations to speak to meetings about inclusion, following our recent letter to area meetings.
We have sixteen supporting meetings and fifteen who take occasional collections for QDEG. Liz Anderton said that being a ‘supporting meeting’ reminds the local meeting of its interest in and support of QDEG generally and not just financially.
We accept the accounts and thank Pam Brunt.
4 Committee nominations
During the past year, Magda Cross and Julia Smith were released from service on the committee and have been thanked.
We appoint Alan Johnson to serve from today until our AGM in 2018.
5. Discussion: what would we like to see QDEG doing in the future?
Notes from the discussion:
Rosemary Teare asked if any QDEG members are affected directly by the government austerity measures. We believe in equality but are we representative of those who are not part of the Quaker organization as a whole? Are elderly and disabled people being forgotten? Does QDEG need to operate on a wider scale?
Liz Anderton suggested that we need to start within the Religious Society of Friends because of lack of awareness; put our ‘own house in order’ before we can work outside the Society. She reminded us that individual members of QDEG speak up and work in the wider community. Nuala Watt a young Scottish Friend who spoke on the same platform as Nicola Sturgeon at the Bairns not Bombs demonstration in Glasgow was arguing against the 12 billion cuts in the welfare budget when the government are planning to spend 110 billion on Trident
Pam Brunt felt that QDEG needs to focus on what we can do which is unique because other organizations are doing good work outside Quakers.
Lisa Shendge said that she is not a QDEG member but asked if QDEG should make more effort to use the skills of our own members. The meeting was reminded about the skills forms that all members are invited to complete, which helps the committee to know where to turn when specific help is needed.
Shelagh Robinson told us that she had taken the opportunity as a member of a dementia organization to talk at Westminster to over two hundred MPs (including party leaders) about how people are affected by cuts in their benefits. She spoke as a Quaker and a member of QDEG, believing in equality.
Hilary Davies believes that more cuts are ahead whatever the outcome of the forthcoming election. She suggested associating ourselves with other Quaker groups that are already speaking out as Quakers about equality.
Joy Croft spoke of the really good improvements in accessibility which were achieved during her two terms of service on Meeting for Sufferings including audio papers and changes in procedures during meetings. She is grateful and pleased to have been able to give from her strengths. Eleanor Tew asked Joy to write a piece about her experiences. Alethea Wigzell offered to write an article about her experience of service on two national committees.
Gill Reid encouraged the use of appropriate technologies to enable people to serve.
Patricia Chandrasikera asked meetings to review their attitudes to disability and asked QDEG to write an encouraging article.
(Note: This was the purpose of the recent letter sent to every area meeting via the monthly mailing from Friends House to clerks.)
Bob Pickup said that personal and professional can go together, that QDEG can work jointly with many groups.
In response to a question, Pam Brunt confirmed that QDEG is also for carers and in fact for everyone who is interested in better inclusion within Quakers.
Dawn Beck reminded us that we have a responsibility to make our needs known.
Rosemarie Teare thanked QDEG for its work.
Liz Anderton and Jackie Fowler, co-clerks