What we do 

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The Revd Debbie Starling

Debbie's new role 

The Revd Debbie Starling, self-supporting Assistant Priest in the Melton Mowbray Parish Team, has begun work as the Diocesan disAbility Awareness Adviser (voluntary).
Debbie will be working as part of the Social Responsibility panel alongside Diocesan Deaf Development worker Karen Sly, Together Leicester Development Worker Sian Rigby, and Social Responsibility Enabler Canon Alison Adams.
She will be seeking to raise awareness of a wide range of differing needs including physical and learning disabilities, sensory and visual challenges, as well as other hidden disabilities which can all make attending and taking part in church more difficult.
Her personal family experience with a range of different abilities including mental health, physical and learning disability, means that Debbie is well placed to offer support on helping to make church buildings as well as worship more accessible. Many simple changes can improve accessibility from physical structures and layout of space, careful choices of lighting and audio equipment, through to language and format of services.
Formerly a Self-Supporting Priest in the Diocese of Exeter, Debbie moved to Leicestershire from Devon in 2016 to be close to family here. She had been the disAbility Awareness Adviser in the Diocese of Exeter for nine years and one aspect of this was facilitating a ‘Fresh Expression’ of church with people who had a wide variety of additional needs.
“My passion is for Church to be a place of true welcome, accessible for everyone. I am eager that church communities are places where everybody is valued equally, and enabled to use their individual gifts together, as part of The Body of Christ,” said Debbie.
Debbie is available to support and advise on any aspect of disability. She is starting by holding local awareness raising meetings around the diocese. Her aim is to find out what church communities are already doing for people who have additional needs and also ask people how they would like to be involved in helping Church become more accessible.
If you would like to talk to Debbie about any disability/accessibility issues please contact her on debbiestarling@btinternet.com

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