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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Rochester Anna Chaplain helps spearhead new initiative for disabled people

Mayor of Medway, Cllr Jan Aldous, and Anna Chaplain, Chris Bostock

Non Visible Disability Initiative.

Rochester Cathedral's Anna Chaplain, Chris Bostock, reports on plans to improve life for many living with NVDs:

'It is believed that Medway Council is the first area to promote awareness of Non Visible Disabilities among businesses and shops. A non-visible disability is a disability or health condition which is not immediately obvious. Living with even a slight NVD can still have a huge effect on someone’s life.

Back in June, John Portman, an Anna Friend, contacted me to say that the Medway Council Lead for Adult Service (Cllr David Brake) was forced to cancel a high profile launch of the initiative in July due to Covid restrictions. He asked if it could be rearranged in Rochester Cathedral. Chapter very kindly offered Friday September 3. As a result I was co-opted onto the steering group, chaired by Cllr Brake. Most of the other members are people living with NVD. The Group has adopted an elephant logo with the strap line ‘tackling the elephant in the room’.

On Friday, prior to the opening, a group known as the Skylarks (Medway Neurological Network singing group) sang to guests as they arrived. The Dean of Rochester, John Hesketh, welcomed guests including the Mayor of Medway, Cllr Jan Aldous. The Mayor was joined for the day by the Mayors of Maidstone (Cllr Fay Gooch), Sevenoaks (Dr Merilyn Canet) and Dartford (Cllr Rosanna Currans). The Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, was unable to join us but sent a video message. However, we were delighted to welcome Elspeth Darby from the Cabinet Office Disability Unit.

Dean of Rochester, John Hesketh

A number of local organisations had a showcase ‘market place’ including Anna Chaplaincy. I am extremely grateful to the fellow Chaplains and Friends who came to support me.

Mid Kent College have an NVQ Non-Visible Diabilities Awareness Course. Both Rohan Charles (Alzheimer's Society Dementia Advisor) and I have signed up for the course which is to begin in November.

All in all, a successful day appreciated by exhibitors and guests which is just the beginning, we hope!'




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