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'There's a lot of anxiety': Church called not to forget disabled people as lockdown eases

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian disability charity Through the Roof has encouraged churches to make disabled people a high priority as lockdown eases. 

Its comments come as a new study revealed a fifth of disabled people say they will not leave home until a vaccine for coronavirus is developed, amid fears over the lifting of shielding measures.

Research by the disability charity Scope suggests half of disabled people feel anxious about the advice on shielding being paused on 1st August. 

Just five per cent of disabled people said they would feel safe when this happens and 30 per cent said they will not leave home when lockdown ends.

Fiona Gosden is the Through the Roof's church inclusion co-ordinator and has a rare bone disorder. 

She told Premier although she's happy that shielding advice will soon be lifted, she's very worried about leaving her home. 

"I'm hesitant. Even with my faith, It's challenging when the virus is invisible. It's challenging to make a risk assessment every time you leave the house," Gosden said. 

"It's a time when we really need to be praying more and be praying really honestly to God about how we feel. And to be praying for people to be respectful for those who are considered more vulnerable."

Scope has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for him to prioritise the needs of disabled people, 59 per cent of whom are worried about being forgotten by the Government.

Gosden said this also can serve as a reminder for the church to not leave disabled people behind. 

"The Church can do some of the obvious but really important things like food shop for somebody or pick up their prescription. And it's important that this continues after shielding. 

"As lockdown eases the church will get busy, but it's very important to remember that things haven't changed for disabled people. I've heard so many positive stories about how the church have been during this time and it's important that continues."

In England and Wales between 2nd March and 15th May, 59 per cent of coronavirus deaths were of people with whose daily lives were limited a lot or a little by a disability, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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