Quaker Disability Equality Group (QDEG) Annual Report 2014/15

QDEG has had another busy year. We held our AGM at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) in Bath. This was a good opportunity to share experiences of disability with members of our group and the wider Quaker Community.

YMG There were two members of our committee on the pastoral Care Team at Bath. This gave us an opportunity to meet with disabled Friends throughout the week sharing experiences and solving problems. Working with Pastoral care and the disability access officer Krishna was very helpful. During the week we talked to many Friends who shared their experiences. Of course there were some problems but on the whole Friends comments were very positive. A full report of Friends experiences was sent by QDEG to YM arrangements committee

We had a stall at the groups fair in Bath when we had an opportunity to meet with members and interested Friends. We also ran a well-attended Journeys session at YM when three Friends talked very movingly about their experiences of being Quakers who are disabled.

Mental Health We have fostered links with the mental health cluster and talked about how we could work together. The MH cluster has a rather different remit which is mostly giving advice in response to requests from meetings.

Long-term Framework QDEG was asked to respond to the BYM 2015-2020 Long-term Framework. We arranged a special committee meeting to draft our response which focused on equality and inclusion of Friends with disabilities at all levels within our society.

BYM directory of resources Two members attended a consultation meeting on updating the BYM directory of resources. This was another opportunity to emphasise the need to make its services as accessible as possible to all Friends.

Woodbrooke We are continuing our work with Woodbrooke. Later in May we will hold one of our face to face meetings at Woodbrooke followed by half day meeting with staff looking at issues around access and inclusion.

Website: quakerdisabilitygroup.org.uk Over the coming year we plan to develop the site making it a valuable resource for a Quaker perspective on disability and inclusion.

Committee Our nominations committee bring names forward to serve on our committee. We endeavour to have Friends with experience of varying disabilities, age range and representing different areas of the UK

This year Magda Cross, Julia Smith have been released. We are pleased to welcome Alan Johnson.

Our committee: Liz Anderton and Jackie Fowler, co-clerks. Pam Brunt, treasurer. Bob Pickup. Jonathan Griffith. Sam Barrett Cormack. Shelagh Robinson.

We have monthly meetings of which 2 or 3 are face to face meetings and the others are by telephone conference. We are experimenting with Skype but so far this has not been accessible for all our committee to use.

Letter to AM clerks Recently we have sent a letter to all AM Clerks publicising the work of QDEG and encouraging them to think about issues of inclusion and how their meeting could become involved. Please use this letter as an opportunity to raise awareness and publicise our work.

E-mail network We continue with our e-mail network where Friends can share experiences and ideas. The committee use this information to guide them on Friends concerns and a guide to what our members want. We welcome suggestions for future development.

Finance We try to use our financial resources wisely keeping expenditure to a minimum. Although meeting in London is expensive it is easier for most of our committee to travel in one day. For full details of expenditure see attached accounts.

QDEG still has much work to do to achieve full inclusion within our society. We see that much of our work is raising awareness and supporting Friends and meetings. We are encouraged by the support we have had from Staff at Friends House and meetings. The committee encourages and welcomes ideas for further development from Friends.

Liz Anderton and Jackie Fowler