Bromley CCG invites local residents to be a friend to someone with a disability

Date: 30 November 2017

Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging local residents to say a quick hello, offer a friendly cup of tea or lend a hand to a neighbour with a disability as part of international day of persons with disabilities which takes place on Sunday 3 December 2017.

People with disabilities can experience considerable difficulties in making and maintaining friendships – and that can really impact on their lives. But friendship provides people with emotional support in times of crisis, boosts happiness and reduces stress, improves self-confidence and is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

According to Sense, a national charity that supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs,[i] 53 per cent of disabled people say they feel lonely. Nearly one in three respondents reported seeing friends once a month or less. Six per cent of disabled people have no friends at all.

International day of persons with disabilities, which is organised by the United Nations, is a chance for people with and without disabilities around the world to come together in the name of friendship.

In the UK there are 11.65 million disabled people.  People who are deafblind and sensory-impaired say barriers to friendship include a lack of understanding from others in how to communicate with them. To get the conversation started, why not try these tips for communicating well with someone with a disability?

  • use a normal tone of voice, do not patronise or talk down to the person
  • refer to them as having [x] disability, not as 'a victim of [x]' or 'suffers from [x]'
  • be confident in using everyday language, for example, ‘see you later’, ‘another pair of hands’
  • address them in the same way as you talk to everyone else
  • communicate directly with them, even if accompanied by an interpreter or companion.  

A good way for people to beat loneliness is to get involved with the voluntary sector. Volunteers get great satisfaction, acquire new skills and make life-long friends. Helping each other improves the lives of local people and makes our neighbourhoods stronger and better places to live.

Many organisations in Bromley are supporting the ‘Connecting Bromley’ campaign. 

The campaign is aimed at those who may have limited contact with others or are lonely such as the elderly, those with long term disabilities or health issues, or those going through a change in their lives such as parenthood, divorce, bereavement or moving to a new area.

One of the main parts of the Connecting Bromley work is to bring together and publicise local activities and services in various parts of the borough. For people who cannot get out of their house easily there are details about local befriending services where regular visits are made to people’s homes, phone lines for advice and friendship or internet groups as well as help to get out of the house. You can find out more by clicking here.

Bromley CCG Clinical Director and Bromley GP, Dr Ruchira Paranjape  said: “Research tells us how important mental health is to physical health, and I would encourage all local people to use the international day of persons with disabilities to think about how they might help a neighbour with a disability to enjoy a more fulfilling social life.”

To find out about local volunteering opportunities, visit the volunteering section of the Community Links Bromley website.

For more information on the international day of persons with disabilities (IDPD) click here.

[i] Sense Friendship survey, 1004 people with disabilities, Sense/Opinium, Jan 2015

  • Summary:

    People with disabilities can experience considerable difficulties in making and maintaining friendships

NHS Bromley CCG, Global House, 10 Station Approach, Bromley, BR2 7EH

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