Posts Tagged ‘bishop of oxford’

Bishop calls Diocese to back disabled people

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

The following will be in the January edition of  ‘The See’ -

Suicides are increasing among disabled people too frightened to protest against coalition cuts that are damaging their lives, according to disability campaigners taking their case to Parliament.

They are calling for 100,000 people to sign an online petition  asking Government to freeze, and review, cuts in the benefits and services for disabled people ‘which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families’. Sufficient support would generate a Parliamentary debate.
‘Because of the cuts to benefits and services disabled people and their carers are living in fear,’ said one Lancashire campaigner. ‘Some have already committed suicide. We have been let down by all the political parties.’
The petition, submitted by blind carer Pat Onions  ‘is our last hope,’ the campaigner said. It needed everyone’s support:  ‘you may not think you will be affected now, but you may be in the future, when there will be no safety net for you.
Case studies should summon a ‘coalition of the compassionate’ in support said Bishop Nicholas, who is backing the campaign. The petition is also being supported by a range of disability organisations, including the RNIB,  Disability Alliance, CarerWatch, and CarersUK.
John Blake said he had claimed Incapacity Benefit for a number of years, following a spine injury. A letter and medical form was followed by a phone call instructing him to attend a medical assessment on the fourth floor of a building in Preston, with no parking within his walking distance, ‘so I had to refuse‘.
‘I then received a letter from the Jobcentre asking why I did not attend the medical. I pointed out that the building was inaccessible to me due to my physical condition, which does not appear to be relevant.
The Jobcentre told John he would not be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance because he did not attend the Work Capability assessment. ‘My benefit would be stopped. I was being punished because of my disability. I now have circulation problems and could lose my right leg.
‘My wife is a cancer patient and I am her carer. She is physically and mentally fragile and I am concerned for her welfare as she will also be subject to this kind of treatment by ATOS (the private company carrying out assessments) and the Government welfare reforms.’
“Cathy” is nearly 50 and has been diagnosed with a severe and enduring mental illness. She currently receives Incapacity Benefit and an indefinite award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), including high-rate care. Medical professionals have said that the illness will last her lifetime, and that her condition is deteriorating.
Cathy describes the last year as ‘One of the worst I can remember.‘ After 18 years of continuous support from the Community Mental Health Team, she was discharged against her will and left without statutory service. One of the reasons given was a lack of funding.
This was followed by ‘compulsory harsher reassessments, threats and sanctions’ over sickness and disability benefits, said a campaigner. Contributory Employment and Support Allowance was to be limited to a maximum of 12 months. Sole exceptions will be for those placed in Support group ‘which is notoriously hard to get into’.
‘DLA will be axed so Cathy’s award will no longer stand. The news made her despair and her condition was aggravated- and consequently the stress on her elderly carer also. Cathy’s prescription was increased four-fold, and has been supplemented with extra medication.’
Bishop Nicholas said: ‘I would like to see a coalition of the compassionate backing this call to Government to stop, and thoroughly review threats to the support available for the most vulnerable members of our society.
‘This transcends party politics. Rather, as those who have launched this petition are saying, it forms an appeal to “everyone who cares about disabled people”. That should include us all!
‘Many thousands of disabled people, and their carers and families, daily show incredible and usually unacknowledged courage, simply achieving the simple things most of us take for granted. We can help them by requesting that Parliament reconsider fully the measures that disabled people themselves feel will further erode their quality of life.
‘As Christians we have a duty to follow the example of Jesus who showed especial care and compassion towards those living with disabilities. We can continue his work by signing this petition, and by urging many others to do the same.’
Bishop Nicholas, the Bishop of Blackburn, Lancashire


Dear Santa – from Pat Onions (Pat’s Petition)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Dear Santa,

I know how busy you are but I have a few ideas I want to run past you. OK?

They’re all to do with Pat’s petition – yeah I thought that was a great idea too. Told all my friends who told their friends and they all signed my petition. Brilliant. That’s what I needed.

I asked some nice people at lots of the charities too. They were well impressed and passed it around on someat called Twitter and put the petition on their sites. That was good and gave the petition publicity but I need more signatures – lots more. Time is against me.

One of my helpers, you call yours Elves don’t you Santa? I like that. Anyway one of my helpers said I should ask some of the Voluntary sector people. They came good and you know what? The numbers shot right up. I could hear the countometer thingy going whoosh it was amazing. Well pleased I was too.

I found little pockets of people in even littler places all wanting to help. It was amazing.

Do you know Santa what was specially magical for me? What can be more fitting at Christmas than some Holy men sending their blessings to us? Even more special is one very very important Holy man who is praying for all of us.

Thank you to them all.

I know you’re very busy Santa but can you help me a little more? Will you tell all these ever so nice people, who made that counter thing go so high, that I will be back in January? Gonna ask again for their help to get right up to them 10’s of thousands. Tell them that time is running out for all of us and ignoring me is not an option.

Will you be sure and tell them I need their votes please Santa?

I’m gonna fight on for all those disabled people, all them carers and their families who love them.

Thank you.

Pat x

 Please sign Pat’s Petition here and ask your family, friends and contacts to do the same.

If you belong to a group/charity that has a newsletter, please ask them to share these details with their members. It is vital we reach as many disabled people, and their families as possible. Time is running out  

Things to do this Christmas

Bishop of Oxford helps raise awareness of Pat’s Petition

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011


Dear Mrs ******,

Thank you very much for drawing my attention to Pat’s Petition.  I am drawing it to the attention of 1500 church leaders who receive a weekly email bulletin from Oxford Diocese and I hope there might be some real response from that quarter.  You are right that a society must be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members.

With all good wishes

Yours sincerely


Christine Lodge
Personal Assistant to the Bishop of Oxford