Founded in November 2015, the team was established to answer the rising need of the disabled, carers and additional needs families of the Pagan community. We are continuously adapting to meet the needs of the community.
The aims of the disabilities team are:
To increase awareness of the challenges Pagans with disabilities, carers and additional needs families have in getting involved in the Pagan community, increase engagement in local Pagan community including identifying moots, accessibility issues and offering further advice when requested by event organisers or members.
To provide guidance and support to event organizers who request it.
To creatively assist disabled Pagans, carers and additional needs families in overcoming isolation including the Disabled Pagans Voices Project, online festivals and other team initiatives.
To promote the benefits of inclusive events and achieving diversity at events, to ensure that Pagans with disabilities feel included and able to participate.
Many of the team members have firsthand knowledge of disabilities and also 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 we also held the world’s first Online Festivals.
The festivals began for Beltane 2016 and it became clear from the offset that we’d stumbled onto something special. Through these festivals we’re learning the full extent of the work that needs to be done as we come into contact with many Pagans who felt they’d never been taken seriously within the community before; they were what Disabilities Manager, Debi Gregory, called “The Lost Voices”. With these lost voices in mind came the birth of The Disabled Pagan Voices Project, brainchild of former Pagan Dawn Editor, Kate Large. This is an opportunity for all disabled Pagans, their carers and additional needs families to get their voices heard through music, art, poetry, short stories, blogs and anything else that gives an outlet to the creative voice of the community.
As well as this website, we have our team blog; Spoons and Broomsticks. The blog is open to all to contribute but is also a place for you to get to know the team, our aims and our thoughts.
Debi Gregory, the Community Support Officer, 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 DPVP (Disabled Pagan Voices Project) she hopes that you will come to know the individuals of the team for their integrity, knowledge, humour and strength and that you will feel safe in their hands.
“Without trust, we have nothing.”Debi Gregory, Community Support Officer
The aims for the future include finding a District Disabilities Liaison for every PF District and having an active social network for the isolated and lonely in the community, as well as helping moot and event organisers to become creative to overcome some of the barriers that are being faced.
While well aware that some things are insurmountable, we are enthusiastic about facing every challenge with a level head and a touch of magic.