- Raise awareness of the challenges Pagans with disabilities have in getting involved in the Pagan community;
- Increase their engagement in local Pagan community by identifying moots, working on accessibility issues, and offering further advice when requested by event organisers or members.
- Provide guidance and support to event organisers who request it.
- Creatively assist disabled members in overcoming isolation including the Disabled Pagans Voices Project, online festivals and other team initiatives.
- Promote the benefits of inclusive events with diverse participants, to ensure that Pagans with disabilities feel included and able to participate.
The Disabilities team has expanded to include a Secretary, a Web Elf and a Deputy, as well as a Liaison Officer in most Districts. District Disabilities Liaisons (DDLs) are part of this team but also work closely with District teams. Many of our team members have firsthand knowledge of disabilities or have worked in a sector that has given them experience and a wider knowledge of this cause. The team attends national festivals, conferences and even local moots, to meet people, speak about the team and the PF and their work and to reach out to the community.
As well as this they also held the world’s first online festivals for Pagans, which have their own page Online Festivals on this site. They began at Beltane 2016 and it became clear from the offset that we’d stumbled onto something special, as they have a wide appeal not only to disabled Pagans, but to all those who have family or work commitments which make it harder to attend events.
It is through these festivals that we are learning the full extent of the work that needs to be done as we come into contact with many Pagans who feel they have never been taken seriously in the community before, what the Disabilities Manager calls the lost voices. With these lost voices in mind came the birth of The Disabled Pagan Voices Project, brainchild of our former Pagan Dawn Editor, Kate Large. This is an opportunity for all disabled Pagans, their carers and families, to get their voices heard through music, art, poetry, short stories, blogs and more. To find out more go to our DPVP page.
The Disabilities Team now has its own website and blog Spoons and Broomsticks. This blog is open to all to contribute and is also a place for you to get to know the team, their aims and their thoughts.
Without trust, we have nothing
Debi Gregory, our Disabilities Manager, feels strongly that the team’s most important job is to be a source of emotional support for those within the community who feel they have no voice and no strength left. Through the festivals, the blog and the Disabled Pagan Voices Project, she hopes that you will come to know the individuals in the team for their integrity, knowledge, humour and strength, and that you will feel safe in their hands.
Our aims for the future include a District Disabilities Liaison in every PF District, making a start on appointing Regional Disabilities Liaisons to work under the DDLs and and build an active social network for the isolated and lonely in the community, as well as helping moot and event organisers to become creative in overcoming some of the barriers that we face. While well aware that some things are insurmountable, the team is enthusiastic about facing every challenge with a level head and a touch of magic.
Disabilities Manager – Debi Gregory
Deputy Disabilities Manager – Jean Merrilees
Secretary – Jean Merrilees
Disabilities Web Elf – vacant
District Disabilities Liaisons
North East – Jon Swattridge and Louisa Victoria Marshall
North West – Ashley Crook
Mid-West and Wales – Carl Johnson
West Midlands – Vacant
East Midlands – Alex Bear
East Anglia – Vacant
Devon, Cornwall and the Isles – Sylvia Rose
South Midlands – Jean Merrilees
South Central – Vacant
South East – vacant
London – Catherine Manning