• DJ

The Cwmbwrla Connections Advent Calendar- Day Three


Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It’s celebrated everywhere, and in this part of the world it’s celebrated with particular pride.

This annual commemoration has been in the calendar since 1992. It exists to promote the rights and the well-being of those with disabilities and raise awareness of the challenges they face from day to day. It exists to give them a voice.

As we come to the end of a year that’s seen our healthcare capacity tested to the limit, it’s worth remembering that some people were already struggling for equal treatment. Even in a normal year, women and men with disabilities are less likely to have access to healthcare, not to mention education and employment. And 2020 hasn’t exactly been a normal year.

Luckily for all of us, there’s good news on our doorsteps. St John’s Day Centre in Cae Rowland Street welcomes service users with a wide range of needs, some highly complex, maintaining a balance of compassion and professionalism that ensures everyone is treated with dignity. Last Saturday Centre Manager Amanda Gallivan opened her doors to us, allowing us to mark the publication of Cwmbwrla, Coronavirus and Community, and everywhere we looked there was evidence of the warmth and inclusiveness that makes St John’s the heart of that community. Within those walls and gardens, people are respected.

Demand for the service is growing, and it’s not difficult to see why.

· There are currently eleven million disabled people in Britain, and over seven million of them are of working age. That’s 18% of this country’s working age population.

· Less than 20% of disabled people were born with their disabilities. In most cases it’s something that affects us over time.

· One person in every four will be affected by mental ill health in the course of their life.

· One in four men and one in five women will suffer a critical illness before they reach the age of 65.

· 25% of the world’s population is either directly or indirectly affected by a disability.

Each of us has a significant chance of developing a disability at some point in our lives. It may strike quickly and cruelly or it may creep up on us with stealth. If we’re very, very lucky, we might find ourselves in the care of people of compassion and character. The kind of people you find at St John’s Day Centre. They see the ability, not the disability.

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